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March 18, 2014

Allen, like Melton, left visit without a deal; Cowboys remain in play but at what price

Two days ago, this was considered a big week for the Cowboys.

With visits on tap with defensive tackle Henry Melton and defensive end Jared Allen, it was considered a golden opportunity for the Cowboys to gain some off-season momentum and an improve their team for next year with free agents at key need positions. 

Now that the visits are over _ Melton and Allen both left without deals _ the Cowboys remain unfulfilled though still clinging to a hard line they established last week when they cut defensive end DeMarcus Ware and let Pro Bowl defensive tackle Jason Hatcher bolt in free agency.

Signing guys at their price would come first and foremost over being fiscally irresponsible and possibly costing them against the cap in future years.

The visits went well with Melton and Allen, according to a source, and the Cowboys remain in play for both players.

Melton left his visit with the Cowboys and flew to St. Louis for a visit with the Rams. He visited the Vikings and Seahawks before coming to Dallas and is weighing offers from several teams, a source said.

Allen returned home to mull a decision over with his wife, a source said. He visited the Seahawks before coming to Dallas. He must decide if he will take an offer with Dallas or Seattle, visit other teams or continue to wait.

The Cowboys remain interested in both players and made pitches how each would fit in defensive coordinator Rod Marinelli's scheme.

The remaining question is at what price.

Melton, a Pro Bowler in 2012 with the Bears, is coming off season-ending knee surgery. His knee checked out fine with the Cowboys and he will be ready for the start of the season but not the start of training camp in late July.

The latter is not considered something that would preclude the Cowboys from signing him, but it is something to consider when talking contracts, a source said.

Allen, an 11-year veteran, has averaged 14.5 sacks over the past seven seasons. But he will be 32 next season and is reportedly looking for a contract similar to the three-year, $30 million deal the Ware signed with Denver after being cut from the Cowboys last week.

The Cowboys have yet to budge from the hard line they took with Ware.

In other news, the Cowboys lost another free agent when safety Danny McCray signed a one-year deal with the Bears. MCray was primarily a special teams player in Dallas and not considered an off-season priority. He notched eight special teams tackles in 2013.  

Clarence Hill

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