Now, the message being trumpeted with eery silence by Jones since March 11 has been that cheaper and younger players are absolutely necessary, especially on defense. There’s just too many holes on the roster and obviously not much in the way of dollars to spend on veteran players that other teams no longer want.
Still, I think that Allen either was or still is the better player to sign.
Allen also has some off-the-field baggage to be aware of, yet his particular position is simply harder to fill than Melton’s.
I’m aware that Allen loves to hunt, thus making him a confirmed carnivore. However, I’ve never heard anything about him allegedly biting another person, something we can’t say about Melton.
Further, Allen doesn’t have the recent injury history that Melton does.
Above all else, Allen’s list of accomplishments in the NFL, especially as an individual player, far exceed those of Melton.
Allen has more sacks than just one active player in the league right now. His 128.5 career quarterback take downs are second only to Arizona Cardinals pass-rush specialist John Abraham’s 133.5.
Allen turns 32 years old next month and he remains on the open market despite seven consecutive seasons with at least 11.0 sacks—he nearly broke the NFL single season mark for most sacks with 22 just three seasons ago.
History clearly shows that Dallas, along with most other NFL franchises, has no shot at Super Bowl contention without a couple of pass-rushers that can each eclipse 10 sacks in a season. The Cowboys are even better when they have a guy who can push 20 sacks—look that up.
Allen would not represent the long-term future for the Cowboys. In contrast, Jones would simply have to hope, if landing Allen, that he could get a couple of strong seasons for his money. The chances of that happening seem greater with Allen than they are with Melton or franchise sack-leader DeMarcus Ware, now with the Denver Broncos.
It can’t be overlooked that Allen stands 6’6” and weighs around 270 pounds, a physique that is perfect for playing defensive end in the 4-3. While Ware wasn’t exactly too small for the same position, he wasn’t tailor-made for the 4-3 scheme the way he was in the 3-4 alignment at outside linebacker.
Melton’s age is more attractive than Allen’s, but Dallas needs to bring an edge rusher to this defense since it’s not a given at all that the 2014 NFL Draft provides this intangible. A quick glimpse at Cowboys opponents for next season tells you all you need to know about the importance of getting more pressure on opposing quarterbacks.
No, potential first-overall draft pick Jadeveon Clowney, a once every decade-plus defensive end prospect from South Carolina, is not coming to the Cowboys.
But maybe a guy like Kony Ealy of Missouri will—all the more reason to have Allen around to teach whoever ends up the long-term future as Dallas’ franchise defensive player.
Well, the great ones are hard to find and maybe Jones has scored big by getting Melton into the fold with reasonably low risk. Perhaps Melton becomes a long-term fixture along the interior of the defensive line. Maybe he brings the same kind of impact that historical counterparts like Bob Lilly, Randy White, Russell Maryland, Leon Lett and La’Roi glover did.
On the other hand, names like Harvey Martin, Ed “Too Tall” Jones and Charles Haley represent the most vital ingredient to a championship-caliber defense. The Cowboys have nothing at all like these guys playing defensive end.
Allen is the closest there is, period.