News item: Bears defensive tackle Henry Melton is left to play out the 2013 season under the franchise tag after no agreement on a contract extension could be reached by the Monday deadline.
Future news item: Bears GM Phil Emery will be very, very busy next winter.
The Bears’ potential free agent list next offseason, per Rotoworld’s contract data, includes Melton (combined 13 sacks the last two seasons), quarterback Jay Cutler, safety Major Wright, placekicker Robbie Gould, center Roberto Garza and cornerbacks Tim Jennings and Charles Tillman.
In a story published Monday in the Chicago Tribune, Melton said he knows the Bears have a lot to weigh once the calendar hits 2014.
“There are a lot of decisions to be made, especially after this season,” Melton told the Tribune’s Vaughn McClure.
Further adding to the potential intrigue next offseason: wide receiver Brandon Marshall’s contract runs out after 2014.
Keeping the 26-year-old Melton for several more years would figure to be a Bears priority, especially some of their defensive stars on the wrong side of 30. The question is, will they be able to sign him to a multi-year deal if they choose not to give him the franchise tag once again?