Cowboys Sign Henry Melton
Dallas shored up a big hole in their defensive line on Tuesday, signing DT Henry Melton to a one-year, $5 million deal that could turn into a four-year deal if Melton in on the roster at the start of the 2015 league year. If that scenario does play out, the deal essentially becomes a four-year, $29 million contract with $14 million in guaranteed money.
This signing makes a lot of sense for the Cowboys, as Dallas lost two key pieces of their defensive line last week. The cap-strapped Jerry Jones was forced to release DeMarcus Ware and they let Jason Hatcher test the open market. Ware is now in Denver, and Hatcher signed with Washington.
While Hatcher was fantastic last season, a strong argument could be made for Melton as an upgrade at the position. He’s four years Hatcher’s junior, and while he doesn’t quite match Hatcher’s size, Melton is an incredibly explosive player who gets up field in a hurry.
Melton tore his ACL just three games into last season, but he was coming off a strong 2012 campaign where he posted 44 total tackles and six sacks in 14 games played. Were it not for the injury, Melton would have been one of the more hotly pursued free agents on this year’s market.
An ascendant talent, Melton’s fantasy stock also benefits from this move. Last year, Hatcher posted 11 sacks and ranked among the league’s top defensive tackles in fantasy scoring. He finished as fantasy’s No. 16 defensive end in PFF IDP scoring. A healthy Melton has the potential to equal, if not exceed Hatcher’s 2013 production in the 3-technique spot along the Cowboy’s defensive line.
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Jeff Ratcliffe is the Assistant Managing Editor and resident IDP maven of PFF Fantasy.