Henry Melton will play for Chicago Bears on tender


Chicago Bears franchise player Henry Melton will not sign a long-term contract ahead of Monday's deadline, the defensive tackle told the Chicago Tribune.

Agent Jorday Woy told NFL.com's Albert Breer that Melton will play on his tender. Woy also represents Dallas Cowboys pass rusher Anthony Spencer, and says Spencer will be playing on the tender as well.

Melton was believed to be seeking a five-year contract with $18 million to $20 million guaranteed, but the Bears were unwilling to break the bank to sign him. Melton will earn $8.5 million under the franchise tag.

A Pro Bowl selection for the first time in 2012, Melton tallied 43 tackles, six sacks and two forced fumbles. He's one of the most athletic three-technique defensive tackles in the NFL, emerging as a valuable complement to Julius Peppers.

Melton will have to repeat that success under new defensive coordinator Mel Tucker after playing in Lovie Smith's defense for three seasons. He joins quarterback Jay Cutler and cornerback Charles Tillman as key Bears players entering contract years.

This team could have a new look in 2014 if those players don't live up to expectations.

Follow Chris Wesseling on Twitter @ChrisWesseling.