Free-agent defensive tackle Henry Melton is headed to Dallas.
The former University of Texas player announced via Twitter that he was returning to the Longhorn state to join the Cowboys.
Melton signed a one-year contract that includes three option years, NFL.com reported Wednesday. The deal, which could yield up to $5 million in 2014, extends to four years if Melton is on the roster at the start of the 2015 season and would include $9 million in guaranteed money. That essentially would make it a four-year, $29 million contract with $14 million guaranteed.
"Thank you chicago for the best 5 years of my life!.... I can't wait to begin the next chapter of my life... With a star on my helmet," Melton tweeted.
The move was speculated for the past few weeks. The Cowboys are in need of help on the defensive side after losing Demarcus Ware and Jason Hatcher in free agency.
There is some uncertainty surrounding Melton, who was named to the Pro Bowl in 2012. He suffered a torn ACL last season, was arrested and also is not considered to be strong against the run. But at least four teams were mentioned in the past week as having interest in signing him as a free agent.
In 48 career regular-season games with the Bears, Melton had 88 tackles, 15 1/2 sacks, two fumble recoveries and three forced fumbles. Sixty-eight tackles and 13 sacks came during the 2011 and 2012 seasons.
With the Cowboys, Melton will be reunited with new Cowboys defensive coordinator Rod Marinelli, who served in the same position with the Bears.
The reported deal with Melton likely means that the Cowboys will not pursue free-agent defensive tackle Jared Allen, according to NFL.com.