Bears defensive tackle Henry Melton on Tuesday signed his one-year franchise tender, assuring him of earning $8.45 million for the 2013 season.
The Bears can still negotiate a long-term contract with Melton through July 15.
That's exactly what transpired last year when general manager Phil Emery and the Bears placed a franchise tag on running back Matt Forte and later signed him to a four-year deal.
"Henry has been a good player for us and we are using the franchise tag so his development continues as a Bear," Emery said March 1 after the Bears tagged Melton. "We will continue our conversations with Henry and work toward a multi-year agreement."
Melton, 26, was voted to his first career Pro Bowl in 2012 after registering 33 tackles with six sacks, five tackles-for-loss, a team-high 24 quarterback pressures and two forced fumbles.
The 2009 fourth-round draft pick from Texas enjoyed a breakout season in 2011 when he recorded a career-high seven sacks, third most by an NFL defensive tackle.