In a statement Friday, General Manager Phil Emery said Melton has been a good player for the Bears and the team is using the franchise tag ''so his development continues as a Bear.''
Emery said the team will work with Melton to reach a multi-year agreement. The deadline for reaching a contract agreement is July 15. If an agreement isn't reached, Melton will play next season for $8.45 million.
The 26-year-old Melton was a fourth-round draft pick out of Texas in 2009. He started his Longhorn career as a running back, but moved to defensive tackle.