Originally written on Midway Illustrated  |  Last updated 2/15/13
The Chicago Bears face a predicament with Henry Melton that they could have avoided had they worked to sign him to a contract extension at the end of the 2011 season.  Melton's contract value went up because he enjoyed a Pro Bowl season in the final year of his rookie contract.  Now general manager Phil Emery faces the likelihood that he should prepare to sign third year defensive end Corey Wootton to a contract extension to avoid the same problem he now faces with Melton.  Corey Wootton is headed into the final year of his four year rookie contract at the same trajectory level of Melton.  Wootton struggled with injuries during his first two years in the NFL and had a decent third season in the NFL, call it a break out year.  Wootton took over the starting job and finished the season with eight sacks, eight QB hits and 17 hurries on the season.  With less than 60-percent of the total snaps played Wootton finished no worse than 40th in all the major pass rushing and run defense categories according to profootball focus among 4-3 defensive ends.  Wootton played at a level that is in the middle of the pack among starting defensive ends who earned more than 60-percent of snaps.  In other words he was more productive with less playing time meaning he could have a breakout year in 2013.  Entering the 2013 season Wootton will be playing only his second full season fully healthy without injuries.  If he wins the starting job it will be his first full season as a starter, but he could easily surpass double digit sacks and put himself in contention for a Pro Bowl year.  The price tag for a young Pro Bowl defensive end would be very steep if Wootton were to achieve that level of production in 2013.  What this means is the Bears should move to sign Wootton to a contract extension sooner rather than later.  With Wootton the Bears don't have to sign him to a four to six year extension right now, they are better off signing him to a two year extension now to coincide with the end of Julius Peppers' six year deal.  By signing Wootton to a two year extension you will likely save a much bigger cap hit at the beginning of the 2014 season.  This would also avoid the potential of having to cut Julius Peppers to give Wootton a big pay day.  A two-year extension that would come in well below Wootton's future market value at the end of the 2013 season would be solid for both sides.  Reason one, the Bears save money for the next three seasons.  Secondly Wootton will start the 2013 as a 26-year-old defensive end, and could cash in with a lucrative free agent contract before he hits 30 if he's as productive over those next three years as would be expected.  While most Bears fans scoff at the idea of giving a defensive end who has struggled with injuries the first two years of his a contract extension after one good season, this is where a GM makes  his money.  Wootton proved his potential and his knee can no longer be questioned.  By giving him a modest extension now, you put yourself in the best possible leverage situation.  The Bears don't want to be in a poor leverage situation with a proven defensive end heading into the prime of his career with Julius Peppers and Israel  Idonije heading towards the end of theirs.  Being a GM requires foresight, it requires focusing on the immediate off-season but also realizing that the time to strike with young players is when you're in the best possible position to save salary cap money.  With the future in mind Chicago Bears GM Phil Emery would be smart to give Wootton a two year contract extension and a pay raise now to avoid a much bigger contract and a loss of leverage situation later.
GET THE YARDBARKER APP:
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45
MORE FROM YARDBARKER

A-Rod, Yankees settle dispute over home run milestone bonus

Report: Robin Lopez, Knicks finalizing four-year deal

Becky Hammon will coach Spurs' Summer League team

Jimmy Butler on Derrick Rose: ‘I don’t think we have any issues’

Yankees get A-Rod's 3,000th hit ball for $150,000 donation

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

Report: DeAndre Jordan 'torn' between Clippers, Mavericks

Russell Wilson 'would definitely consider' playing for Mariners

Lakers apologize for first, get second meeting with Aldridge

Mike Scioscia: Josh Hamilton should apologize to Arte Moreno

Sacramento Kings continue to be an utter disaster

Report: Cowboys believe Bryant is bluffing about missing games

Five reasons the Browns should play Johnny Manziel

Blue Jays need rookies to keep producing for success in 2015

WATCH: Sean Doolittle gets cup check from teammate

University of Florida developing high-tech smart mouth guard

Pat McAfee is the best punter in NFL history

Mets coach on slump: The only thing left is human sacrifice

MLB teams who will continue to surprise in second half

2015 Women’s World Cup Final: The Rematch

Answering the five biggest questions in NBA free agency

Report: Mavericks sign Wes Matthews to four-year contract

Dwyane Wade celebrates deal with tea, painted toenails

Coach K at fan town hall: 'I have no thoughts on retiring'

NFL News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Fox Sports Digital Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.
the YARDBARKER app
Get it now!
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

Russell Wilson 'would definitely consider' playing for Mariners

Solo, Rapinoe among USWNT stars up for World Cup awards

LBS on Sports Jeopardy! Here's how how it went

College football's 35 most patriotic helmets

A brief history of non-star All-Stars

With Love retained, the Cavs can take care of LeBron

Grading the deal: Davis commits to Pelicans

Obama Administration: Change name if Redskins move to D.C.

Deciding what the All-Star Game means

Odell Beckham Jr. offered professional baseball contract

Orioles keep finding a way to win

Lloyd sends USWNT to World Cup final

Today's Best Stuff
For Bloggers

Join the Yardbarker Network for more promotion, traffic, and money.

Company Info
Help
What is Yardbarker?

Yardbarker is the largest network of sports blogs and pro athlete blogs on the web. This site is the hub of the Yardbarker Network, where our editors and algorithms curate the best sports content from our network and beyond.