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Chicago Bears place franchise tag on Pro Bowl defensive tackle Henry Melton

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As expected, the Chicago Bears and Henry Melton were unable to reach a long-term agreement, and the 26 year old DT has been tagged.

USA TODAY Sports

New defensive coordinator Mel Tucker said that he would stick with a 4-3 base defense in Chicago, and one of the most critical pieces of that puzzle is having a disruptive defensive tackle in the trenches.

Henry Melton, who had the best season if his career in 2012, was scheduled to become a free agent, but the team was not about to let him test the market. They have used their franchise tag for the 2013 season on Melton, he announced this evening via Twitter, which will pay the defensive tackle $8.45 million.

Melton found himself in the Pro Bowl after the 2012 season, which was perfect timing for a player at the end of his rookie contract. Keep in mind, also, that the team still has until July to work out a long-term contract extension-- They had the same situation last season with running back Matt Forte, who was tagged, but then signed a new deal shortly after. It wouldn't surprise me if the Melton deal will fall the same way.

Stay tuned...