Everybody knows that the Dallas Cowboys have some work to do to get under the salary cap. Players will be let go and contracts will be restructured, not only to get under the cap, but to create enough room for some movement in the free agency market. But just how much room will the Cowboys have to maneuver? That's the million dollar(s) question right now.
The Cowboys defensive line has been the subject of much speculation when it comes to the draft, and free agency. Will Dallas let Jason Hatcher walk? Probably. Will they keep Anthony Spencer? Maybe. Will they release DeMarcus Ware? Almost assuredly not. Will they ask for a restructure/pay cut from Ware? Maybe. But what about help from outside along the defensive line.
Dallas Cowboys: DT Henry Melton Thanks to rampant salary cap issues, Dallas will almost assuredly have to let defensive tackle Jason Hatcher walk in free agency. Henry Melton, an undersized but effective interior pass-rusher, could provide the perfect fit. He is coming off an ACL tear and a recent arrest, but those issues, while concerning, will also drive down his price tag for the cap-strapped Cowboys.
Not mentioned in that blurb is the other obvious, and perhaps most important connection - Rod Marinelli was Melton's coach in Chicago. He knows the kind of player Melton is. The current Chicago coaches say this about him, an opinion I'm sure Marinelli shares.
[Bears GM Phil] Emery and coach Marc Trestman on Thursday gushed over how disruptive, physical and fast the Bears' defense was in the first three games of the season, the only games in which Melton participated.
"The under-tackle position in the scheme that we're in is the engine that drives the defense," Emery said. "And when he was in the game, even though from a statistical standpoint he wasn't off to a fast start, it was very evident on tape that he was a very important part of the defense."
There is a reason Melton was franchise tagged last season, he's that good. But will his injury and his arrest for assault and public intoxication be enough to drive down his price into the Cowboys range? I doubt it. Melton is only 27 years old and will likely be able to participate in offseason programs with his knee. The arrest will be a little trickier to deal with in terms of possible suspension, etc. But given his talent and age, I can't see him falling into the Cowboys lap. No matter how hard Rod Marinelli tries to make it happen.
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