When the Bears used the franchise tag on running back Matt Forte last year, Forte refused to sign the tender and stayed away from the team during offseason workouts while trying to land a long-term deal.
The strategy worked out for him as he and the team agreed on a four-year contract shortly before the deadline to sign a multi-year deal last July. Defensive tackle Henry Melton is hoping that there’s more than one way to reach the same finish line.
The Bears used their franchise tag on Melton this year and he quickly signed the tender, guaranteeing himself a salary of $8.45 million if he isn’t able to work out a deal. Melton has been with the team all offseason and remains hopeful that he’ll be able to land a new contract even though he’s taken a less adversarial approach than the one Forte rode to a deal last year.
“I’m not going to really think too much about it,” Melton said, via Brad Biggs of the Chicago Tribune. “It’s a decision that comes from within and upstairs if they want to keep me long term. We’re just kind of talking through some things. Everyone is getting set up and getting the drafted guys done. Hopefully we can sit down and get something done.”
Since Forte and Melton play different positions that carry different values in today’s NFL, there’s a good chance things play out differently this year. Like Forte, though, Melton’s discussions will likely continue right up to the July 15 deadline to land a new deal.