Before the Mar. 8 opening of the pre-signing period, it is technically tampering for a team to talk with a player still under contract with his current team. But it is not tampering for someone connected to that player to talk about another team.
Henry Melton is on course to become an unrestricted free agent next month unless the Bears make a surprise move to re-sign the 26-year-old defensive tackle before the rehab from his torn ACL is complete. In the meantime, agent Jordan Woy told Todd Archer down at ESPN Dallas that “there would be interest from Henry’s side” in playing for the Cowboys and former line coach Rod Marinelli.
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It was under Marinelli’s mentoring that Melton muscled up from a 260-pound reserve defensive end to a 295-pound Pro Bowl defensive tackle.
For the Bears to keep Melton, however, will require a health gamble. Melton is running and working out at Halas Hall regularly but his rehab is far from complete and won’t be until much deeper into the offseason.
“There is a leap of faith because some of these injuries and rehab cycles extend past the opening of the league year,” general manager Phil Emery said at the NFL Scouting Combine. “So obviously there’s a leap of faith in some instances if you decide to move forward without them receiving medical clearance.
“But I will say normally the No. 1 criteria is they have to receive medical clearance, especially if they’re the players that you know and they’re in your building and you know what their medical history is.”