Sep 22, 2013; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; Chicago Bears defensive tackle Henry Melton (69) is carted off the field after being injured against the Pittsburgh Steelers during the second half at Heinz Field. The Bears won the game, 40-23. Mandatory Credit: Jason Bridge-USA TODAY Sports
Free agency is just a few weeks away and we’re taking a look at the Chicago Bears pending free agents to see who might make sense to bring back. Some of the biggest names were already brought back – Cutler, Jennings, Gould and Slauson – but there are still plenty of guys that don’t know where they’ll be next season. I’m looking at these based on their 2013 cap hit, so first up, it’s Henry Melton.
2013 Cap Hit: $8.45 Million
2013 Grade: Melton didn’t play enough to get a grade from ProFootballFocus, only starting 3 games before he blew out his ACL. He had three tackles and a fumble recovery in his limited action. Coming off a preseason concussion, Melton was just rounding into shape when he went down with injury.
Pros: Melton knows the Bears scheme and fills a major area of need. When he’s right, he’s a Pro Bowl caliber player. You might be able to get him at a deep discount
Cons: Melton is coming off an ACL injury and he’s had an off-the-field incident. He’s a bit undersized for DT, especially if the Bears are tinkering with a 3-4 or hybrid defense.
Potential suitors: The Dallas Cowboys by way of Rod Marinelli and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers with Lovie Smith certainly would be the most obvious choices.
Bottom Line: Melton went from franchise player to a questionable choice to bring back. The Bears had a major void in their defensive interior and will need to pursue multiple avenues to fill it. Can they rely on a guy coming off a serious knee injury to be a part of the mix? If the price is right, you can bring him back on a one-year prove it deal.
What do you think? Do you want to see the Bears bring back Hank the Tank? Let’s see your comments.