(Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images) Henry Melton
Younger. Better. Cheaper.
What’s not to like about the Cowboys’ free-agent signing of defensive tackle Henry Melton?
The worst thing for an NFL general manager to do is pay an aging player for past performance. We all know the litany of Jerry Jones’ gaffes, and paying Jason Hatcher would’ve been another one. Hatcher is 32; Melton 27. And the newest Cowboy has all the tools to be even better in defensive coordinator Rod Marinelli’s scheme.
After also visiting with the Seahawks, Rams and Vikings, Melton agreed to a one-year contract with the Cowboys last night that could pay him up to $5 million and includes options for another three seasons.
“I’m excited to come back home and work with Rod and get back to my Pro Bowl form,” Melton told ESPNDallas.com. “It’s a great group of guys there and I’ve talked to them the last few days.”
Melton was a beast with the Bears in 2011 and 2012 under Marinelli. He had seven sacks in ’11 and made the Pro Bowl in ’12 with six sacks and 32 tackles as one of the most aggressive, disruptive defensive tackles in all of football. In Dallas’ Tampa 2 scheme orchestrated by Monte Kiffin and Marinelli, the Cowboys need an attacking tackle. Hatcher was that player last year. But Melton should be that player for years to come.
The talent is there. The only questions with Melton are his health, and his focus.
He played only three games in 2013 because of a torn ACL. He says he’ll be ready for training camp and obviously the Cowboys’ medical staff believes he’s on his way to a full recovery. One of the Bears’ reasons for allowing Melton to escape in free agency was an incident last December when he was arrested for assault during a fight with a bartender in his hometown of Grapevine.
Melton isn’t perfect. He certainly doesn’t solve all of Dallas’ defensive problems.
But it’s a shrewd move. And it’s a small step in the right direction.
A native Texan who was born in Duncanville and graduated from UT-Arlington, Richie Whitt has been a mainstay in the Metroplex media since 1986. He’s held prominent roles on all media platforms including newspaper (Fort Worth Star-Telegram, Dallas Observer), radio (105.3 The Fan) and TV (co-host on TXA 21 and numerous guest appearances, including NBC 5). He currently writes a sports/guy stuff blog at DFWSportatorium.com and lives in McKinney with his wife, Sybil, and two very spoiled dogs.