There are numerous players for the Chicago Bears who are slated to be unrestricted free agents once March 11 rolls around. Among those players, there are some key defensive players, including defensive tackle Henry Melton. Last year, Melton spent virtually the entire season on the injured reserve list with a torn ACL. At the time, Melton had the franchise tag attached to him.
It’s becoming more evident that the Bears won’t use their franchise tag on any of their players this year, which means that Melton will definitely explore his options via free agency. Even with the uncertainty of the five-year veteran’s health, there are some teams that still see Melton as an impact player.
If there was a team that could be seen as a good fit for Melton, it would be the Dallas Cowboys. The potential addition of Melton could benefit both sides.
For the Cowboys, Melton could be a suitable replacement for defensive tackle Jason Hatcher, assuming that Dallas doesn’t re-sign him. As for Melton, he could have a chance to play in a highly familiar environment.
Melton is a native of Texas, played high school ball in the Lone Star State, and played at the University of Texas. Furthermore, if the veteran defensive tackle finds himself wearing a star on his helmet, he’ll get to reunite with Cowboys defensive line coach Rod Marinelli, who was Melton’s defensive coordinator/defensive line coach in Chicago. In addition, Melton was selected to the Pro Bowl in 2012 while under the tutelage of Marinelli.
Of course, if the Bears want to re-sign Melton, it will come at a fairly high price. In order for that to happen, Chicago will have to cut loose some veterans who are eating up major cap space. Realistically, the likelihood of Melton being re-signed probably diminished a bit on Thursday when Chicago re-signed guard Roberto Garza, whose one-year deal is worth $1.5 million and includes a $100,000 signing bonus and a $75,000 workout bonus. The Bears also re-signed tight end Dante Rosario to a one-year deal.
The official start to the 2014 NFL offseason is right around the corner, and it will only be a matter of time for us to find out whether Melton will stay in the Windy City, pack his bags for Dallas, or end up somewhere else.
Clyde A. Speller is an NFL writer for RantSports.com. Follow him on Twitter @ClydeASpeller.