BBAO: 'Chatter' with Bears, Henry Melton

We're Black and Blue All Over:

We are approaching the final weekend in the NFL calendar before the deadline to sign franchise players to long-term contracts. Based on Vaughn McClure's story in the Chicago Tribune, the Chicago Bears would have to make substantial progress over the next few days to reach an agreement with defensive tackle Henry Melton.

If the sides don't have a deal by Monday afternoon -- and McClure reported there has only been "chatter" in the way of discussions -- then Melton will play the 2013 season under the terms of his one-year, $8.45 million franchise tender. That's not necessarily a crippling blow for the Bears or their cap situation, but it would put everyone in the same situation at the end of the season.

If he plays out the year under the franchise tag, Melton would once again be eligible for free agency this winter. The Bears would have to franchise him again to protect against his departure if they can't sign him to a longer-term deal.

Continuing around the NFC North: