Sep 22, 2013; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; Chicago Bears defensive tackle Henry Melton (69) is carted off the field after being injured against the Pittsburgh Steelers during the second half at Heinz Field. The Bears won the game, 40-23. Mandatory Credit: Jason Bridge-USA TODAY Sports
Henry Melton has finally made up his mind where he wants to play in 2014. And it’s not Minnesota.
After a long tour of potential free agent landing spots, the former Bears DT has reportedly signed a one-year contract to play for the Dallas Cowboys.
Mike Garafolo says Melton’s deal with Dallas features a clause that automatically extends the contract to four years total, with a bunch of guaranteed money, if Melton is on the roster at the start of 2015.
The cap-strapped Cowboys obviously were not able to offer Melton much of a contract for 2014, so they had to sweeten the pot by putting in loads of guaranteed money on the back end, while still covering themselves in the event Melton can’t fully return from his torn ACL.
The Vikings, who have lots more cap room than Dallas, may have offered Melton more on the front end but the chance to play one year on a smallish contract and then score a huge deal was too good for Melton to pass up, evidently.
So Dallas gets the defensive line stud they were so desperate for, leaving the Vikings without a guy who, by all accounts, was considered a key piece of their free agent puzzle.
With the number of attractive free agent targets dwindling, it’s unlikely we’ll hear much more from the Vikings on the rumor front. Even without Melton, the Vikings did all right for themselves in free agency, landing capable players at several positions that were problematic for them in 2013.
Now we turn our attention to the draft and all the many potential scenarios that could play out when May comes rolling around.