Melton, 28, played in every game last season, recording five sacks and 15 tackles.
Free agent defensive tackle
Melton played with the Cowboys in 2014, totaling 15 tackles with four sacks in the regular season. He spent the previous five seasons with Bucs coach Lovie Smith in Chicago. He's totaled 104 tackles and 20 1/2 sacks in his six years in the league.
The move will make Melton a free agent for the second consecutive offseason and would have made $9 million if the Cowboys had picked it up.
Melton played a full season in Dallas after missing 13 games in 2013 with a torn ACL. He totaled 11 tackles for the Cowboys including five sacks and four passes defended.
Coming off a torn ACL he suffered in 2013, Melton played in every game this season, starting 15, and finished with 15 tackles and five sacks. The team could seek to bring back Melton for less than what the option would cost.
"As he went through the season, he evolved and improved," owner Jerry Jones told the paper. "He had a setback or two that I would call nicks, probably impacted his overall steady progression to back to where he was that year in Chicago (2012) before he got hurt. But in general, I did see progress with how he rehabbed from his injury. I know that we’re eons better off today relative to rehabbing his injury than he was when we started training camp.”
Melton suffered a knee injury in Week 17's game against the Redskins and was unable to return. Coach Jason Garrett was not optimistic about Melton heading into the playoffs as well.
Melton's season ends with 15 total tackles including five sacks for Dallas.
The Cowboys are currently 7-point favorites against the Lions Sunday.
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