Despite general manager Phil Emery and head coach Marc Trestman expressing a desire to bring back Henry Melton for 2014, the defensive tackle obviously didn’t feel such a vibe.
Having signed a deal with the Dallas Cowboys in which he can earn up to $5 million in 2014, Melton was asked Wednesday whether it was difficult to leave the Chicago Bears, where he spent the first five years of his career after the club drafted him in 2009 with a fourth-round pick. Melton didn't seem especially pleased about how the Bears dealt with him in free agency.
“We gave them a chance to make an offer, and they said they would wait to see what the market was and we don’t do business like that,” Melton said. “They dropped out early.”
According to a source familiar with the situation, the Bears never really ever entered the derby because they didn’t make an offer.
Asked about Melton at the start of free agency, Emery said he “pretty much left it with [agent] Jordan [Woy] that [Melton] was gonna go through [the free-agent] process, and when he got through it, and he had a pretty good idea of what his market is, we could talk at that time.”
Upon learning of those remarks, the source said, “If you want to sign someone badly enough, you make offers and don’t wait.”
So that’s where we stand regarding Melton, who will attempt to regain his Pro Bowl form after undergoing left ACL surgery in 2013. The Bears paid Melton $8.45 million last season as the franchise player, and received just three games as a return on the investment.
So Chicago probably made the right move in not overpaying for Melton.
The club will certainly find out in 2014 when it hosts Melton and Dallas at Soldier Field.