Last season the Chicago Bears franchised tagged running back Matt Forte, who refused to sign the tender and stayed away from the team during off-season workouts while trying to get a long-term deal.
When it was said and done, Matt Forte got his long-term deal as his strategy worked out for him, signing a 4 year contract before the July deadline. This season the Chicago Bears used their franchise tag on pro bowl defensive tackle Henry Melton, who picked up 44 combined tackles, being a career high and a total of 6 sacks.
In a defense that continued to create turnovers, almost consistently, Melton was a force to be reckoned with on this defensive line. Now waiting for a deal to be done before the July deadline, the tag the Chicago Bears used on Melton guarantees him a salary of $8.45 million, which is amazing for only 1 year. But he is still positive that his agent and this organization can get a deal done just like they got Forte’s done.
“I’m not going to really think too much about it. It’s a decision that comes from within and upstairs if they want to keep me long term. We’re just kind of talking through some things. Everyone is getting set up and getting the drafted guys done. Hopefully we can sit down and get something done.” - Henry Melton to Brad Biggs of the Chicago Tribune
Although Henry Melton played a part of a back up running back at the University of Texas for two years, it is pretty obvious that he and Matt Forte play different positions that carry different values. There is a possibility that things play out differently this year, as he intends to land a new contract by taking a less adversarial approach than Matt Forte did. Melton has been with the team all off-season, as he is hopeful for a deal to get done, as discussions could continue up to the deadline date of July 15th.
Now with a new coaching staff on the defensive side of this team, former defensive coordinator Rod Marinelli joined the Dallas Cowboys, which lead to the Bears bringing in Mel Tucker. Tucker who spent 4 seasons with the Jacksonville Jaguars as both defensive coordinator and assistant head coach, is focused on keeping the defense in a similar mode the players are familiar with.
“I like him. He’s not trying to be somebody he’s not. He’s not going to try to come in here like he’s Rod. He’s going to be his own guy and I like him for that. I’m excited.” - Henry Melton on Mel Tucker
Melton was one of the younger plays on this team who has taken to Mel Tucker, along with Chris Conte and Shea McClellin, who all 3 could be with the Chicago Bears for many years. All this team needs to do to make sure the pro bowl defensive tackle stays on this defense, is to get this long-term deal done so they don’t have to worry about possibly losing him next season.