Originally posted on The Football Fan Spot  |  Last updated 8/11/12

DT Henry Melton

Henry Melton had a breakout year in 2012, registering 7 sacks, 9 quarterback hits, and 23 quarterback pressures and graded out as ProFootballFocus’ 17th ranked defensive tackle. Heading into his 4th year in the league and a contract year, Melton, a 2009 4th rounder, is expected to get a larger role in the absence of guys like Amobi Okoye and Anthony Adams, who are no longer with the team. If he can keep it up in a larger role, he could emerge as one of the league’s premier defensive tackles and the Bears might see him worthy of the relatively inexpensive defensive tackle franchise tag (7.9 million in 2012).

Likelihood: Somewhat likely

Brian Urlacher

Urlacher is a future Hall of Famer, but he’s aging and the linebacker franchise tag value (8.8 million in 2012) is inflated by the salaries of rush linebackers and thus non-rush linebackers rarely get tagged. After an offseason in which Curtis Lofton, Stephen Tulloch, and David Hawthorne got 27.5 million, 25.5 million, and 19 million respectively over 5 years, the Bears are unlikely to commit 8.8 million or more to Urlacher over just one season, especially his age 35 season. For reference, Urlacher will make just 7.5 million in 2012. If there’s anyone that’s going to be an exception to all that I’ve just said, it’s Urlacher, but more likely the two sides come to a more team friendly deal over a longer period of time that will allow Urlacher to retire as a Bear.

Likelihood: Unlikely

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