Is Henry Melton in the Cowboys' future?

January, 15, 2014
Jan 15
10:00
AM ET
ESPN's Mike Sando writes about the Top 25 free agentsInsider for the offseason on a ESPN Insider column, and one name should interest Cowboys fans: Henry Melton.

Melton
Writes Sando on Melton: "This one is complicated by the ACL injury Melton suffered during the season. A recent arrest presents another issue to navigate."

With the Cowboys most likely letting Jason Hatcher walk away in free agency, his replacement along the defensive line could be Melton, who is nearly four years younger.

Hatcher had a fantastic season for the Cowboys, and he's expecting a big-money deal in free agency, but the Cowboys' salary-cap issues will prevent them from making a move on him.

It could lead to Melton, whose health and legal issues might impact what he commands on the free agent market. The Chicago Bears missed Melton's presence last season in the heart of the defensive line, and with Cowboys line coach Rod Marinelli having coached Melton previously, it seems like a good fit.

However, the Cowboys have, as we've said, cap issues, so cutting some players and moving money around to clear cap space is a must if Melton is to sign his name to a contract.

The biggest move in this regard might come in letting DeMarcus Ware go, which would free up nearly $7 million in cap space. The Cowboys are roughly $30 million over the cap for 2014, and they'll get under it, but whether they have enough money to make a run at a Melton is uncertain.

Of course, Melton, because he's younger, might ask for more money than Hatcher, and though he's coming off a torn ACL, it appears Melton will make a full recovery.

Upgrading the roster is a must for the Cowboys, especially on defense, and to do this, getting players like Melton, if the cap space allows, would be a good first step in that direction.
Calvin Watkins joined ESPNDallas.com in September 2009. He's covered the Cowboys since 2006 and also has covered colleges, boxing and high school sports.

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