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Julius Peppers, Henry Melton on Dallas Cowboys' radar

The Dallas Cowboys lost the backbone of their defense when DeMarcus Ware and Jason Hatcher defected to the Broncos and Redskins, respectively.

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Now Jerry Jones' club actively is seeking replacements.

A source familiar with the team's thinking has told NFL Media Insider Ian Rapoport that the Cowboys are among the organizations talking with former Chicago Bears defensive end Julius Peppers.

Dallas has yet to schedule a visit, per Rapoport, but they are interested "at the right price."

Peppers has an obvious connection in new coordinator Rod Marinelli, who coached Peppers in Chicago the past few seasons.

If the two sides find common ground, Peppers would replace Ware as the defense's top pass rusher.

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The Cowboys do have a visit scheduled with Peppers' former Bears teammate Henry Melton, Rapoport reports, via a source informed of the defensive tackle's coaches.

Melton not only has local ties, but is also a favorite of the defensive coaches, per Rapoport. Although he's now a high-priority signing for the Cowboys, Melton will first spend Friday with the Seahawks.

With Ware and Hatcher off the roster, this defense is among the NFL's most feeble. The pressure on Jones to restock will be somewhat alleviated if he can land Peppers and Melton.

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