The deadline for a franchise-tagged player signing a long-term extension is coming up on July 15, and for the Bears that means a deadline to sign defensive tackle Henry Melton off his $8.45 million tag and to a new long-term deal.
Which would be all well and good, except for the complete lack of chatter about any extension talks.
Jason LaCanfora wrote back on June 18 that he wasn't optimistic about any franchise tag deals getting done, and with respect to Melton, here's what he wrote back then:
Henry Melton, DT, Chicago Bears: Usually, if a deal is going to get done in these circumstances, there has been a fairly steady dialogue between the sides, even if no one is really budging. There hasn't been that sense of urgency here, and with the Bears defense rapidly aging one would have expected more movement on this player. Melton didn't delay signing his $8.9 million contract tender and took part in offseason work, which might have spurred a deal as well ... only it hasn't to this point. Melton responded well to the pressure of playing out his deal a year ago, rising to Pro Bowl form. If he reaches that level again in 2013, absent a long-term deal, then I suspect the Bears would have to franchise him again or they'll lose him on the open market.
Has much changed since then? Not really, if anything at all.
Matt Forte didn't sign until the deadline last year, and there was constant dialogue between Forte and the Bears, as well as Forte, the fans, and the Bears (remember the sled video? We do...).
The Chicago Tribune reports that, regarding contract talks, there's been a little chatter, but a deal isn't imminent.
If no deal is signed, Melton plays out 2013 on the $8.45 million franchise tag, with the Bears still having about a million and a half in cap space. With the deadline on Monday, stay tuned...
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