I give Jerry Jones enough grief on this site, and (I think) rightfully so. It is only just, then, when Jones & Co. get something right, to say as much.
The Dallas Cowboys got it right with the signing of free agent defensive tackle Henry Melton.
Melton is an upgrade over Jason Hatcher
Sure, Jason Hatcher is coming off a Pro Bowl year and Henry Melton is coming off ACL surgery, but look at the evidence. In eight seasons with the team, 2013 was the first time Hatcher recorded more than 4.5 sacks in a season. He also logged 34 tackles last year, seven more than he had ever managed in the previous seven.
In eight years, Hatcher had one outstanding season, and it happened to be a contract year. That is always a red flag. Is it a character issue? Does a man you are paying to do a job for you only elevate his game when it is time for a review and a raise? Maybe it is a character thing. Maybe it is just coincidence. Whatever it is, the Cowboys were right to let him walk. He is 31 and he has had one good season in the NFL.
Henry Melton, on the other hand, is only 27. He had seven sacks in 2011 and six in 2012. In 2013, he blew out his knee.
Cowboys sign Melton to a sensible contract
The Cowboys signed Melton to a one-year, $4 million contract that could morph into a 4 year, $30 million deal. If Melton is on the roster day one, year two, the rest of contract kicks in. That puts the onus on the rehabbed lineman to earn his money and keeps the ball in team management’s corner. It was a good deal and it speaks to the confidence of the player to accept it.
Marinelli gets his guy and Melton gets his coach
The defensive line is defensive coordinator Marinelli’s baby, and he is considered one of the league’s best line coaches. In Chicago, Melton thrived under Marinelli’s tutelage.
The three-technique is the motor of Marinelli’s pass rush, to paraphrase the man himself. His purpose is to collapse the pocket and get to the quarterback, as evidenced by Hatcher’s 11 sacks in his first season playing for Marinelli and then-defensive coordinator Monte Kiffin.
Melton is coming home
Henry Melton played his high school ball in Grapevine, Texas, which adjoins Fort Worth to the north. Dallas/Fort Worth is home. He played college ball at the University of Texas. Impressively, Melton was a running back in high school and college. In other words, he is unique blend of power, quickness, and speed. Now, he is bringing all of that talent full circle.
Thank you chicago for the best 5 years of my life!…. I can't wait to begin the next chapter of my life… With a star on my helmet.
— Henry Melton (@HenMel) March 19, 2014
Here is hoping Melton fully recovers from the knee injury, regains his former effectiveness, and helps rewrite the success formula in Dallas.
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