Henry Melton is going back home. The former Bears defensive tackle agreed to terms with the Cowboys on Tuesday night.
“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 tweeted.
Melton had visited the Cowboys, along with the Vikings, Seahawks and Rams, since the start of free agency. He started the first three games of the 2013 season before tearing his ACL, but made $8.45 million for playing on the franchise tag.
Melton went to Grapevine High School in Texas and played his college ball for the Longhorns. In four seasons with the Bears he had 89 tackles, 15.5 sacks and three forced fumbles.
In December, Melton was arrested after an altercation at a bar near Fort Worth, Texas. The bar owner is suing Melton.
Phil Emery was asked about Melton’s status during a conference call last Thursday. He would not comment on the legal matters, but said that Melton still had teams to visit.
"We’ve pretty much left it with Jordan [Woy], his agent, that he was going to go through this process and when he got through it and he had a pretty good idea of what the market is, we can talk at that time,” Emery said. “Of course, the clock is ticking, so our resources and what we have at that time may have changed, but we’ll see where we’re at when that’s all finished.”
The Bears re-signed D-tackles Nate Collins and Jeremiah Ratliff, and also have Stephen Paea on the interior. Getting a penetrating three-technique, like Melton was, remains a priority the Bears could address early in the draft.
The Cowboys needed help on the defensive line, and Melton will reunite with Rod Marinelli, the Bears’ defensive coordinator and D-line coach for Melton’s first three seasons in the NFL.
Melton will return to Soldier Field next season, as the Bears host the Cowboys.