Chicago Bears defensive tackle Henry Melton is out for the year with a torn ACL, ESPN reported Monday.
Melton was injured during Sunday night's win over the Pittsburgh Steelers.
The 26-year-old was under a one-year contract at $8.45 million as the team's designated franchise player. Melton has been one of the best defense players for the Bears but he will enter free agency next year with some uncertainty.
Defensive tackle Stephen Paea may move over to the "three technique" that Melton plays, while Nate Collins plays nose tackle. Undrafted rookie free agent Zach Minter is Melton's backup, but he has not been active so far this season.
"You can't replace a Henry Melton," outside linebacker Lance Briggs told the Chicago Tribune. "He is an elite D-lineman. He will be missed. The next man has to step up and do his job."
The Bears (3-0) visit the Detroit Lions on Sunday.