It looks like Henry Melton‘s tenure in Dallas may only last one season. The Cowboys will not pick up the three-year, $24MM option on the defensive lineman’s contract, according to agent Jordan Woy (via Twitter). The 28-year-old will now become an unrestricted free agent. As ESPNDallas.com’s Todd Archer points out (on Twitter), the move will free up $8.39MM in cap space for the Cowboys.
The former fourth-round pick broke onto the scene with the Bears in 2010, when he finished with 13 tackles and 2.5 sacks. His best season in Chicago came in 2012, when he compiled 32 tackles and six sacks, earning him a trip to the Pro Bowl and a top-six ranking on Pro Football Focus’ ratings (subscription required) of defensive tackles. However, his career with the Bears ended rather unceremoniously, as Melton only appeared in three games in 2013 before injuring his ACL.
Melton signed a one-year deal with the Cowboys last March, and the contract called for a three-year extension should the defender remain on the roster through the first day of the 2015 league year. He made 16 appearance with Dallas last season, compiling 15 tackles, five sacks, and four passes defended. PFF was rather impressed with his 2014 performance, ranking him third among Cowboys defenders. He was placed on the injured reserve following Week 17, effectively ending his season.