The Chicago Bears are one of a handful of teams that have designated their franchise tag. They slapped it on Henry Melton just a few days ago. Besides Melton, the Buffalo Bills used the tag on safety Jairus Byrd, the Cincinnati Bengals tagged DE Michael Johnson, the Indianapolis Colts used the tag on their punter, Pat McAfee, and the Denver Broncos placed the franchise tag on left tackle Ryan Clady.
MORE: Chicago Bears place franchise tag on Pro Bowl defensive tackle Henry Melton / Tagging Henry Melton Was The Only Correct Move
The tag essentially buys the Bears some time, much like it did last year when they used it on running back Matt Forte, only to lock him up with a long term deal in the designated time frame. This year the Bears have until July 14th to sign Melton long term, otherwise he'll play under the tag. While that is a big chunk of change to play for in 2013, it's in everybody's best interest to lock him up long term.
Of the players that could be potentially tagged, tight end Jared Cook is a player that could peak the interest of Bears fans.
Use this open thread for all your free agency chatter, and remember that open threads are rated WCG-MA.