Pro Bowl defensive tackle Henry Melton has accepted the franchise tender from the Bears and will sign it in the near future, his agent Jordan Woy said on Twitter.
Last week, the Bears applied the franchise tag to Melton. Once he signs, Melton will be guaranteed $8.45 million, the tender amount for defensive tackles, for the 2013 season. That ensures the Bears don't rescind the franchise tag, which they could do. On the flip side, Melton surrenders the negotiating tool of not showing up for offseason workouts and perhaps showing up at training camp.
Woy, though, made clear that the focus now is on a long-term deal, which could benefit both Melton and the Bears. For Melton, it could guarantee him more than the $8.45 million he's set to get for the 2013 season. And, for the Bears, they can dramatically lower his $8.45 million salary cap number.
"It just feels good to be thought of so highly," Melton told the Sun-Times last week. "Been a long road."
Melton, 26, earned his first Pro Bowl berth after the 2012 season, when he finished with six sacks.