Dallas Cowboys: Signing Anthony Hargrove Makes Very Little Sense

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Dallas Cowboys: Signing Anthony Hargrove Makes Very Little Sense
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Well, so much for acquiring ''Garrett-type'' players—whatever that really means.

Last week, the Dallas Cowboys signed often troubled defensive lineman Anthony Hargrove to a one-year contract for the veteran minimum of $840,000. It's a good thing because the minimum is likely all the franchise is going to get.

You probably remember Hargrove as one of the fall guys in the New Orleans Saints' recent bounty drama. Hargrove was suspended for eight games last season by NFL commissioner Roger Goodell for his apparent involvement in the scheme dreamed up by former Saints defensive coordinator Greg Williams.

I'm not going to go into detail regarding this controversy other than to simply acknowledge the fact that Hargrove was apparently involved to some extent—my opinion as to the legalities surrounding the suspensions of New Orleans coaches and players doesn't matter.

Now, if this was the only blemish on the record of Hargrove then I could see possibly overlooking that and moving forward, especially if he's a talented player who is available. Owner and general manager Jerry Jones has never had much issue with taking chances on high-risk players—except for wide receiver Randy Moss, who was never actually the risk he was feared to be coming out of college in 1998.

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Randy Moss

But the concern with Hargrove goes back even further than "Bountygate."

In short, Hargrove has bounced around between seven teams, counting Dallas, but has actually logged playing time with just four. His first two-plus seasons spent with St. Louis are the longest he has played anywhere since being drafted in 2004 in the third round.

A quick glance at Hargrove's statistics shows some very modest numbers, but probably not as much because he's an average player, at best. On the contrary, this is because he just can't stay on the field.

Forget "Bountygate."

Hagrove has suspensions prior to that situation due to substance abuse.

This is where the situation gets pretty dicey.

Another potential problem is the fact that it's almost a certainty that Hargrove's best days are behind him, at least physically speaking. He'll turn 30 about the time the Cowboys officially open training camp in Oxnard, Calif. on July 19.

So much for getting younger and more reliable along an already aging defensive line.

Doug Pensinger/Getty Images
''Tank'' Johnson

And where exactly does Hargrove play? He's listed as a defensive end who would seem to be a backup for apparent starter Anthony Spencer—but he's also capable of playing inside at defensive tackle.

Either way, one has to seriously question exactly how much reliance should be placed on a player that has multiple suspensions over a somewhat brief NFL career.

Maybe Hargrove has moved beyond his troubled passed. Perhaps he's a hidden gem for a franchise lacking funds to spend on additional talent this offseason.

Or maybe Hargrove is simply a camp body intended to help guys like Jay Ratliff, Sean Lissemore and Jason Hatcher stay fresh for the season.

I have no clue if Hargrove will even be on the roster by training camp.

You might recall Jones taking a shot on former Chicago Bears defensive tackle Terry ''Tank'' Johnson back in 2007.

By the end of 2008, Johnson was no longer desired—and that guy had a rap sheet that makes Hargrove look pretty harmless, but not much more reliable.

Sometimes it's better to simply put good, smart football players on the field and to stop taking unnecessary risks on players who have shown repeatedly that they just can't get it together.

Again, I'm not saying that Hargrove can't do that—or won't—but a career total of 19.5 sacks for a guy that wasn't even in football last season should keep expectations very, very modest.

 

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