Holding out is generally the route that dissatisfied players take when they want to put pressure on their team for contract action. Henry Melton has perhaps put more pressure on the Bears by agreeing to show up.
Melton's agent Jordan Woy tweeted on Friday that Melton would accept the franchise tag placed on him by the Bears, meaning that he agrees to the one-year guaranteed $8.45 million that comes with the tag:
“Clients Henry Melton, Bears, and Anthony Spencer, Cowboys, have both accepted their franchise tenders. We will now focus on long term deals,” Woy put out on his Twitter account (@JordanWoy).
The move is a win-win for Melton and a savvy play by Woy, because it sets the financial floor for Melton but leaves open the route to work out a long-term deal.
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It in fact increases the pressure on the Bears to do that long-term deal. The team is looking to secure a young talent for more years than one, and at the same time create salary cap space. That is best done by an extension, which a long-term deal would in effect be vs. the one-time hit of the tag amount.
The Bears placed their franchise tag on Matt Forte last offseason. The two sides agreed to a four-year deal at the outset of training camp. Forte received roughly twice the tag amount in guaranteed money and the Bears had a lower cap figure and their running back for four years.
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Woy and Melton effectively eliminate the possibility of the Bears going after another defensive tackle, which would have been an option if Melton did not sign his tag tender.
Signing his tag places Melton formally under contract, meaning he is required to attend mandatory team minicamps and offseason activities. Given that he expressed a wish to remain a Bear, however, Melton was never planning to hold out in any case.