Bears GM Phil Emery told reporters on Thursday that they would like to have impending free agent DT Henry Melton back with them next season.
“We do want to bring back Henry and we’ll work through that process,” Emery said via ESPN Chicago. “He’s made progress. He’s made positive progress.”
Chicago used their franchise tag on him last season, but Melton unfortunately went down with a torn ACL last season.
“He’s in every day early,” Bears HC Marc Trestman said. “He’s got to drive in from downtown. If you see him, you’ll see that he has been training and he has been working. He’s very focused. You’ll see he dropped some weight. He looks very good physically right now. Obviously he’s in there working the knee, but he’s been on time, he’s working hard with [Bears head athletic trainer] Chris [Hanks].”
Melton was considered one of the better interior lineman in the league after posting 13 sacks combined in the 2012 and 2013 seasons. A converted running back at the University of Texas, Melton played the crucial “under-tackle” position in the Bears defensive front, which requires a quick, penetrating interior presence.
Melton’s value has taken a hit, after tearing his ACL in the third game of this season. He is expected to be ready to practice by May, but the injury raises questions about his ability to maintain his quickness. Additionally, Melton was arrested on December 21st for assault and public intoxication, which may also hurt his value.
We still have Melton listed as the No. 17 player in our Top 50 Free Agents list.