"I just want to win," he said. "If I'm doing my thing, I feel like the defense is going to thrive off of me and we've got a chance to win some games."
A fifth-year veteran, Melton earned Pro Bowl recognition for the first time in his career in 2012, after ranking No. 3 among defensive tackles in sacks (six) to go with a pair of forced fumbles. Since 2011, Melton ranks second in the NFL in sacks (13) behind Cincinnati's Geno Atkins (20).
Having played the majority of his career for minimal salaries, Melton now will earn $8.9 million fully guaranteed in 2014 as the club's franchise player. So the financial security is there. Now it's time to for him to help lead the defense in a bid for a title, which could prove more difficult with a new head coach in Marc Trestman and a new defensive coordinator in Mel Tucker.
So far, progress on defense has been good, Melton said.
"We're just working through some kinks, like every team is doing right now; trying to be as perfect as possible," he said. "There's not a whole lot (of change in the defensive system under Tucker). We're not going to change something that's been working. (Tucker has) gone back, looked at all the film, looked at some things that have hurt us, and he's just trying to improve off of it."