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Henry Melton Deal: The Contract Details

The Cowboys signed the free agent defensive end, but at what price?

Jonathan Daniel

The Dallas Cowboys got their man on Tuesday, signing free agent defensive tackle Henry Melton to a one-year deal with a club option for three more years. So just what were the dollar figures involved?

It's being reported that Melton could earn up to $5 million in 2014. That number must include a series of goals and incentives for Melton to reach to collect on the full dollar amount since it's being characterized as "up to" $5 million. Obviously with Melton coming off of injury the Cowboys wanted to protect themselves so I would imagine there are playing time incentives involved.

After 2014, the deal averages $8 million per year over three years if the Cowboys keep him on the roster past the first day of the NFL calendar year in 2015. $9 million of that is guaranteed if they keep him past that deadline.

So basically Melton signed a "prove it" deal for up to $5 million this season, with the reward for proving it already built in at roughly $8 million per year for three years. This is a great contract for the Cowboys. If Melton comes back in 2014 from his injury and performs well, then Dallas has their 3-technique locked up for three more years at a reasonable price during Melton's prime years. If Melton turns out to be a bust in 2014, the Cowboys can get out from under the deal with little damage done.

Reuniting Melton with Rod Marinelli should bring out the best in the player who has been tagged with the "off-the-field issues" label, hopefully the Cowboys can get that perception eradicated and have the engine to their 4-3 defense tuned up to maximum impact.

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