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March 18, 2014

Cowboys agree to one-year deal with defensive tackle Henry Melton

The Cowboys and Henry Melton have agreed to a one-year deal with an option, according to a source. Melton's signing will ease the sting of losing DeMarcus Ware and Jason Hatcher on back-to-back days last week.

The Grapevine product arrived for a visit Monday. He had dinner with defensive coordinator Rod Marinelli on Monday night, and though he left for St. Louis on Tuesday without a contract, it didn't take the Cowboys long to get him in the fold.

Melton revealed his choice on Twitter, “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.”

Melton, 27, played only three games last season after undergoing reconstructive surgery on his left knee in October. But in four seasons, he has 15.5 sacks.

Melton replaces Hatcher, who signed with the Redskins last week, having played the three-technique for Marinelli when Marinelli was defensive coordinator of the Bears. Melton earned Pro Bowl honors in 2012 playing for Marinelli, and the Bears used the franchise tag on Melton in 2013, paying him $8.45 million.

The former UT product's signing is good news for the Cowboys whether they get Jared Allen or not.

Allen left Valley Ranch without a contract and returned home to discuss his options with his wife, according to a source. But with Melton on the defensive line, the Cowboys' chances of improving their pass rush, which contributed only 34 sacks last season, and their defense, which was third-worst in NFL history, have improved.

-- Charean Williams



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