Defensive tackle Henry Melton will sign his franchise tender, but the Bears are continuing to work with Melton on a long-term deal prior to the July 15 deadline.
$8.45 million is a lot of cash. And without a long-term deal, that's the amount defensive tackle Henry Melton will play for next season. According to his agent, Jordon Woy, Melton has agreed to sign the franchise tender that would pay him that much cash.
What this means is that Melton's $8.45 million is his cap hit, but he's not entirely locked into the deal - the long-term deal deadline isn't until July 15th, so as long as the Bears and Melton reach a deal by then, $8.45 million won't be Melton's final cap hit. According to Woy, he and Melton will continue to work with the Bears towards this long-term deal. Signing the tender does, however, allow Melton to play in 2013 - if he hadn't signed the tender, he wouldn't be able to play in 2013 without a contract.
After tagging Melton, the Bears have about four million left in cap space heading into free agency, with a number of possible moves at the team's disposal should they decide to sign a free agent.