Found February 15, 2013 on Midway Illustrated:
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.
THE BACKYARD
BEST OF MAXIM
RELATED ARTICLES

Johnny Knox comments on retirement

The Chicago Bears officially terminated the contract of wide receiver/special teams ace Johnny Knox on Tuesday. Knox has now stepped forward to call it a day in the aftermath of a devastating spinal injury has limited his ability to perform at the NFL level. Please Click Here To Read This Story The post Johnny Knox officially retires after Chicago Bears release appeared first...

Bears Prepared To Franchise DT Henry Melton On Monday?

Brad Biggs of the Chicago Sun Times writes that there’s a good chance that Bears GM Phil Emery will use their franchise tag on DT Henry Melton at some point in the near future. NFL teams can apply tags to players starting on Monday, February 18 through March 4. It would cost the Bears $8.3 million to tag Melton, who is coming off of back-to-back solid seasons and will be...

Devin Hester’s Time With The Bears Coming To An End?

Bears new head coach Marc Trestman seemed to suggest that there’s a chance WR Devin Hester‘s time in Chicago could be coming to an end. “(We) had a chance to talk a few minutes but we didn’t get specific on anything,” Trestman said, per Brad Biggs of the Chicago Tribune. “Just an opportunity to get to know each other but not to put in concrete what his role would...

Chicago Bears Mount Rushmore: Four Franchise Icons

The Bears franchise has been a part of the NFL from the league's beginning. In that time the team has won eight NFL Championships and one Super Bowl in two appearances.The Bears have been proudly represented by hundreds of players and coaches in its long history. There are 30 in the Pro Football Hall of Fame who have been a member of the Chicago Bears for anywhere from one season...

Fantasy Football News – Johnny Knox Retires From Football

Fantasy Football News - Chicago Bears wide receiver Johnny Knox has retired from football at the age of 26, 14 months after his spinal fusion operation. FFLockerRoom Take - We wish the young man plenty of success throughout his life. While it is easy to get lost in the game, it brings to you the harsh reality at times of how this game really affects someone’s life. Narrowly avoiding...

Former Bears WR Johnny Knox won’t play football again

During his time with the Chicago Bears, wide receiver Johnny Knox showed flashes of a dynamic wide receiver with big-play capability. However, following a devastating hit in December of 2011 and after undergoing an arduous rehab process, Knox has said that his playing career is over. In talking with Sean Jensen of The Chicago Sun-Times, Knox admitted that this is a “hard pill...

After release, Chicago Bear WR Johnny Knox announces retirement from football

The Chicago Bears released speedy wide receiver Johnny Knox on Tuesday after he was unable to return to the field in 2012. Knox suffered a horrific back injury in December 2011 while playing against the Seattle Seahawks. One day after his release, Knox told reporters that he has given up any plans of returning to the NFL and is retiring from the game.   Anyone that saw the hit...

Urlacher’s future in Trestman’s hands

Brian Urlacher wants to return to Chicago but it’s unclear whether the team wants him back. Coach Marc Trestman today was noncommittal about Urlacher’s future with the franchise.

Trestman, staff meet media

New Chicago Bears head coach Marc Trestman met the media and introduced his coaching staff Thursday at Halas Hall. However, Trestman remained non-committal on two pressing issues facing the club. Trestman acknowledged having brief conversations with both Brian Urlacher and Devin Hester in recent days. But, he stated those were more “getting acquainted” sessions than discussing...

Hoke, Phair will ease staff transition

Defensive backs coach Jon Hoke and defensive line coach Mike Phair, the only two coaches retained from Lovie Smith’s staff, will help the Bears, and coordinator Mel Tucker, keep continuity on defense.
Bears 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!

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.