Tampa Bay Buccaneers sign DT Henry Melton

Henry Melton was Pro Football Focus’ 14th ranked defensive tackle in 2011 and 6th ranked in 2012, both seasons with the Bears, but he was limited to 125 snaps in 3 games in 2013 by a torn ACL. As he was playing on the franchise tag in 2013, he hit free agency last off-season and signed with the Cowboys. The Cowboys only paid 2.25 million plus incentives for Melton in 2014, but declined his 3-year, 24 million dollar option this off-season.

Melton played well when on the field in 2014, grading out as Pro Football Focus’ 14th ranked defensive tackle, but he had recurring knee problems and played just 433 snaps. He’s still relatively young (going into his age 29 season), he played well last season when on the field, and he could bounce back in his 2nd year since the injury. This deal will pay him 3.75 million on a one-year deal in 2015 with another 1.25 million available in incentives, so it’s pretty low risk and the upside is huge. Melton will work in rotation with Gerald McCoy and Clinton McDonald. Being reunited with Tampa Bay head coach Lovie Smith, a strong defensive mind who was Melton’s head coach in Chicago for his best years, certainly doesn’t hurt him.

Grade: A

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