Chicago Bears defensive tackle Henry Melton offers the flip side of that scenario after being carted off the field with what appeared to be a serious knee injury early in the fourth quarter of Sunday's 40-23 win over the Pittsburgh Steelers.
Believed to be seeking a five-year contract in the neighborhood of $18 million to $20 million guaranteed, Melton was unable to reach an agreement with the Bears by the July 15 deadline for extending players slapped with the franchise tag.
The 2012 Pro Bowl selection was just reaching the prime of his career as one of the most athletic three-technique defensive tackles in the league. If the injury costs him the rest of the season, though, it certainly will curb his earning potential on the open market.
UPDATE: ESPN's Michael C. Wright reported that Melton will have an MRI on Monday morning. The Chicago Tribune cited a source in reporting that the Bears fear the Pro Bowl defensive tackle suffered a torn ACL.