When news of Henry Melton signing with the Dallas Cowboys for a 1-year deal worth a reportedly worth $4 million emerged, our own Mike Flannery questioned the move, suggesting that it was a mistake by the Bears to let Melton walk:
Perhaps more details will come out over the next 24 hours that clear things up a little, but my initial reaction is that the Bears made their first mistake of the off-season.
As the dust has settled, details of Melton’s contract have emerged, which might shed a little more light on why the Bears let the talented DT head back home to Dallas to play for former Bears defensive line coach and coordinator Rod Marinelli. As reported by NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport:
Terms for Henry Melton’s #Cowboys deal: 1st year, $5M. If he’s on roster Day 1 of ’15, 3 years kick at $8M per year, $9M guaranteed for ‘15
— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) March 19, 2014
Rather than a 1-year, $4 million deal, the contract could become a 4-year, $30 million deal including $9 million guaranteed for 2015. I’m not surprised the Bears didn’t match that deal. As good as Melton has been in a Bears uniform, I don’t think he’s worth $8 million per year. Besides, he’s coming off an ACL injury and there have been some questions about his offseason rehabilitation work. The cherry on top is a nasty off the field run in with law enforcement officials when he reportedly went all Mike Tyson on a Texas bar owner’s ear.
As the Bears piled up versatile defensive linemen like Nate Collins, Jeremiah Ratliff and Izzy Idonije in free agency, I thought the chances for Melton coming back lessened with each move.
Melton doesn’t seem to hold any ill will in his parting tweet from Chicago:
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
Best of luck to Hank the Tank on and off the field in Dallas.