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Bears put franchise tag on defensive tackle Henry Melton

Lineman Henry Melt(69) celebrates with defensive teammates after tackle for loss against San Diego Soldier Field Sunday Nov. 20 2011.

Lineman Henry Melton (69) celebrates with defensive teammates after a tackle for loss against San Diego at Soldier Field Sunday Nov. 20, 2011. | Andy Lavalley~Sun-Times Media

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Updated: March 1, 2013 8:27PM



As expected, the Bears put the franchise tag on Pro Bowl defensive tackle Henry Melton.

Melton was informed of the team’s decision while on vacation.

“It just feels good to be thought of so highly,” Melton told the Sun-Times. “Been a long road, and now just want to get a long-term deal done and remain a Bear for years to come.”

The 2014 franchise tag for defensive tackles is $8.45 million.

A fourth-round pick in 2009, Melton has established himself as one of the NFL’s elite defensive tackles. He started his college career at Texas as a running back but moved to defensive tackle.

Melton, 26, has shined the last three seasons, culminating in a Pro Bowl berth in 2012.

The Bears used the franchise tag on Pro Bowl running back Matt Forte last season. They were one of a record 21 teams to use the franchise tag, and they were among 12 that secured the player to a long-term deal.

The Bears have until July 15 to work out a long-term deal with Melton. Otherwise, he’ll play next season for $8.45 million. If the Bears franchise him again next offseason, that base salary would jump to $10.14 million.



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