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Cowboys Agree with Henry Melton

By Todd Archer | ESPN.com

IRVING, Texas — Having lost Jason Hatcher to the Washington Redskins last week, theDallas Cowboys have reached an agreement with Henry Melton, reuniting the defensive tackle with defensive coordinator Rod Marinelli, who coached him for three years with the Chicago Bears.

“I’m excited to come back home and work with Rod and get back to my Pro Bowl form,” Melton told ESPNDallas.com from St. Louis, where he was visiting Tuesday. “It’s a great group of guys there and I’ve talked to them the last few days.”

According to a source, Melton can make up to $5 million this season. If he is on the roster the first day of the 2015 league year, he’ll get $9 million guaranteed on the team’s three-year option, which averages $8 million per season. If the team does not pick up the option after the season, Melton would become a free agent.

Melton played in only three games last season with the Bears before suffering a torn left ACL against the Pittsburgh Steelers. He received the franchise tag in 2013, which paid $8.45 million.

He visited with the Cowboys on Monday and was with the Rams on Tuesday. He also visited the Minnesota Vikings and Seattle Seahawks.

“Every team I visited, everything checked out and everything looked good,” Melton said when asked if teams were concerned about his knee.

Melton was named to the Pro Bowl in 2012. He has posted 15.5 career sacks and 71 tackles, including nine stops for lost yardage.

Hatcher, who led the Cowboys in sacks in 2013 with 11, signed a four-year, $27.5 million deal with the Redskins. His departure cranked up the Cowboys’ need for a three-technique player. Melton is the third defensive linemen the Cowboys have added in free agency, joining Jeremy Mincey and Terrell McClain.

Bears general manager Phil Emery expressed a desire to re-sign Melton for 2014 but also voiced concern about the defensive tackle’s commitment to football. As Melton worked through the rehabilitation process, he was arrested in December for assault and public intoxication, stemming from an altercation with a bartender in his hometown of Grapevine, Texas.

ESPN.com Bears reporter Michael C. Wright and Calvin Watkins of ESPNDallas.com contributed to this report.

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Posted by on Mar 19 2014. Filed under Sports.

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