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Bears faced with weighty decision on Henry Melton

Russell Wilson, Henry Melton AP

This is the time of year when football decisions aren’t made in a vacuum, and money can matter more than anything that happens between the lines.

So while it seems obvious that the Bears would want to do what it takes to keep defensive tackle Henry Melton, doing so would require them to tie up nearly a third of the salary cap on four defensive starters, according to Brad Biggs of the Chicago Tribune.

They’d obviously prefer to get a long-term deal with Melton before they had to use the $8.3 million franchise tag, but that’s far from a given.

But they also can’t afford to let an ascending 26-year-old player walk away for nothing, considering the defense they want to run.

Melton has 13 sacks the last two seasons, and earned his first Pro Bowl appearance this year. Since new defensive coordinator Mel Tucker talked about having an “attacking, penetrating front,” it seems apparent having a player like Melton is a requirement.

But they also defensive end Julius Peppers ($16.4 million), cornerback Charles Tillman ($8 million) and linebacker Lance Briggs ($7.4 million) carrying big numbers, meaning a tag for Melton would push the hit for those four to more than $40 million.

And Melton doesn’t sound inclined to offer any discounts.

“We’re still playing the 4-3 … there is not another better D-tackle in the league than myself,” Melton said late last season. “I feel like that.”

We’ll find out in the 15-day period for tagging players which begins Monday whether the Bears value him similarly, and whether that pressure causes them to work harder on a long-term deal.

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22 Responses to “Bears faced with weighty decision on Henry Melton”
  1. tannethrill says: Feb 15, 2013 3:30 PM

    Wouldn’t mind seeing the Fins pay Melton instead of Starks.

  2. funktron2x says: Feb 15, 2013 3:37 PM

    Not even the best in your own division behind Suh and Fairley, lol.

  3. maxbelmont says: Feb 15, 2013 3:38 PM

    Bears need to sign Melton to a long term deal, but fans might have skepticism with what happened after the Bears signed Tommie Harris to a long term deal.

  4. mikeheruki says: Feb 15, 2013 3:39 PM

    Bears can’t afford to chip away at depth on D-line. Already need youth at LB and better back ups at CB in addition to OL…AGAIN.

  5. crazycane says: Feb 15, 2013 3:46 PM

    Ugh, that Peppers contract is killer.

  6. gobears84 says: Feb 15, 2013 3:50 PM

    funktron2x says:

    Not even the best in your own division behind Suh and Fairley, lol.

    ————————————————————

    Really? That’s your story? Last I checked he made the Pro Bowl this year and he hasnt even reached his peak yet as he is still learning the nuances of the DT position. He started out as a RB at Texas. Do us a favor and stick to critiquing your own team that finished last in the NFC North. Thanks for stopping by.

  7. asublimeday says: Feb 15, 2013 3:56 PM

    Not even the best in your own division behind Suh and Fairley, lol.
    ———

    You’re high. The lions D-line is the most overrated thing in sports

  8. asublimeday says: Feb 15, 2013 3:57 PM

    Why is it that bears stories always conjure up idiot “wouldn’t mind seeing him play for my team” comments.

    Ugh, shut up.

  9. punkyqb says: Feb 15, 2013 4:00 PM

    @funktron2x says: Feb 15, 2013 3:37 PM

    Not even the best in your own division behind Suh and Fairley, lol.
    ————————————————————-
    Is that the same Suh and Fairley that led the Lions to yet another last place finish and have lost at least 5 out of the last 6 games against the Bears. LOL

  10. freebird2011 says: Feb 15, 2013 4:06 PM

    Lance Briggs will turn 33 during the season.

    Although Briggs is still playing at a high level, how much is there really left in the tank?

    Seems to me it would make more sense to keep the 26 year old Melton than Briggs.

  11. tremoluxman says: Feb 15, 2013 4:13 PM

    The Vikings could use him since Kevin Williams is getting up in age and is on the backside of his career. No disrespect to KW, but he’s going to need replacing soon.

  12. thevza says: Feb 15, 2013 4:50 PM

    I love me some Julius Peppers, but $16 mil? That’s about one seventh of the team salary cap paid to one guy. If he is really serious about wanting to win a championship in Chicago, you’d think he would be down to do a little contract restructuring. I mean, he’ll probably be pulling in what, almost $100 mil over his career?
    Just sayin….

  13. deltszp says: Feb 15, 2013 5:18 PM

    Football is won in the trenches and this guy needs to stay. At the same time the lb core played average at best and horribly at the end of the season with Mr Briggs missing tackles left and right.

  14. gosuhgo says: Feb 15, 2013 5:50 PM

    Really? That’s your story? Last I checked he made the Pro Bowl this year and he hasnt even reached his peak yet as he is still learning the nuances of the DT position. He started out as a RB at Texas. Do us a favor and stick to critiquing your own team that finished last in the NFC North. Thanks for stopping by.
    __________________
    I get what you’re saying but please don’t use the pro bowl as an example of how good a player is. It literally has nothing to do with player skill. Fairley and Suh were graded at PFF and other football sites as the 2 best DTs in the NFCNorth. Lions sucked this year, can’t argue that, but it wasn’t because of those 2.

  15. boogerhut says: Feb 15, 2013 7:03 PM

    asublimeday says: Feb 15, 2013 3:57 PM

    Why is it that bears stories always conjure up idiot “wouldn’t mind seeing him play for my team” comments.

    Ugh, shut up.
    ==================================
    Riiiiight, only the Bears stories have someone commenting to the fact that they would like this or that player on their team. Uh Huuuuh. How long HAVE you had these delusions of grandeur Oh Center of The Universe?

  16. larryboodry says: Feb 15, 2013 7:48 PM

    The Bears cannot afford to let Melton get away…Regardless of what PFF says, Melton’s potential ceiling is much higher than Suh or Fairley, and Suh especially may have already reached the end of his ascent.

  17. ppc50 says: Feb 15, 2013 7:52 PM

    Dallas wants him, but he will too pricey, unless Spencer is gone

  18. funktron2x says: Feb 15, 2013 9:16 PM

    Such vitriol! Melton is a darn fine player, but just about every metric you could find, Suh and Fairley were better this year.

  19. gobears84 says: Feb 16, 2013 12:58 AM

    Metrics are for people that don’t watch enough football because they don’t have the acumen for grading players from what they see. I’ve watched Melton every snap since he’s been on the Bears, so go ahead and put your GM cap on Lion fan.

    I’ll take my eyeball test over your metric system any day. You want to play this money ball game by using metrics to score players, spend some time and try to figure out how the metrics of your 2 DT’s effected the overall landscape of your season and divide that by the cap hit you take versus your total cap. Seems to me you could spend more time speculating how to find players with better metrics in your secondary. Oh, thats right, that would require cap room. Enjoy having overpaid two quality defensive tackles and not being able to re-sign a guy like Avril. I hope your metrics have millimeters, cause its gonna get worse before it gets better in Detriot.

  20. voiceofsweetness says: Feb 16, 2013 7:36 PM

    Emery has had a whole season to analyze this Melton situation. I have faith he has a strong plan to keep Melton in the fold.

  21. chi01town says: Feb 17, 2013 1:30 AM

    I would like to keep Melton but this
    off season is about the O-LINE.. and a TE. Chicago needs to give CUTLER a new contract. start spending money on the offense.

  22. tone360 says: Feb 17, 2013 9:21 PM

    Well offense isn’t Detroit’s issue so how is it Fairley is so damn good and the Lions are about to occupy the basement for the next 5 years?

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