The Chicago Bears slapped the franchise tag on Pro Bowl defensive tackle Henry Melton to prevent him from becoming an unrestricted free agent this off season. Melton accepted and signed his tag without the drama that surrounded last years tagged Bears player, Matt Forte.
Melton is set to make $8,450,000 for his '13 season, but the Bears and Melton are expected to try and get a long term contract worked out before the July 15th deadline. Brad Biggs of the Tribune speculated on what a potential long term deal could look like.
If the Bears use Forte's contract as a way of doing business with Melton, it will be easy to predict what kind of guarantee Melton could be looking at. Forte's franchise tag was for $7.742 million and the $17.1 million guaranteed he received was nearly the same as the cost the club would have had to tag Forte twice - a 120 percent raise in the second year. That figure would have been $17.03 million. Using that as a rough outline, Melton could be looking at a potential guarantee of $18.59 million ($8.45 million for 2013 and a 120 percent raise to $10.14 million in 2014 under a second franchise tag). But there are a myriad of variables to consider. Melton plays a different position. Both sides can make the case the market has changed. The length of the deal could differ as well.
Whether he plays under the tag money or signs something long term, that's still a serious chunk of change.
He finally broke through and made a Pro Bowl in 2012, and his first step and quickness is tailor made for the one gap defense the Bears run. What I wonder about his play however, is the best from Henry Melton yet to come?
He chalked up 7 sacks two years ago, and another 6 last year, but what does 2013 hold? Will his Pro Bowl play plateau? Will the still young (26 years old) Melton take another jump in his play for 2013?
What do expect out of Henry Melton this season?