Doug Free Agrees to 50% Pay Cut; Cowboys Sign DE Anthony Hargrove

How do you feel about him now, Cowboys Nation? - Tim Heitman-US PRESSWIRE

Dallas continues to tinker with the roster as they begin the offseason in earnest. At last Doug Free has agreed to a pay cut, reportedly inking a two-year deal in the range of 3.5 million per. Additionally, the team cut offensive lineman D.J. Hall and added journeyman defensive lineman Anthony Hargrove.

We have several bits of news, Cowboys fans!

At the top of the list is this: multiple sources are reporting that offensive tackle Doug Free has accepted a pay cut, to 50% of his previous salary. Here's Ed Werder's version:

For the past week or so, it has been reported that the Cowboys wanted to reduce his salary to the 3.5 million range. Given that he was scheduled to make 7 million in 2013, it looks like they got what they wanted. Moreover, it appears that they'll get a significant savings next year as well, as the deal looks to be for two years and 7 million. Free had originally been scheduled to make 15 million in the next two seasons. And, according to Mike Fisher, only the first of the two years may be guaranteed. If this proves to be the case, then its a great deal for the Cowboys.

Also, according to the mothership's Nick Eatman, the Cowboys have been doing a bit of roster tinkering:

Hall got a looksee last week and impressed enough to have a couple of lunches at Valley Ranch before being bidden adieu.

Hargrove, on the other hand, is a very interesting story. He was drafted by the Rams back in the third round of the 2004 draft (to put things in perspective, he was taken seven picks after the Cowboys selected LSU guard Stephen Peterman), and has bounced around the league in the interim, playing for St. Louis (2004-06); Buffalo (2006-07); New Orleans (2009-10), where he won a Super Bowl ring; Philadelphia (2011 training camp) Seattle (2011); and Green Bay (training camp 2012).

You'll notice a gap between 2007 and '09. That's because Hargrove took time away from football to clean up his life after run-ins with the law and failing multiple drug tests. He sent a tape--not a highlight reel, but a video wherein he explained his addiction, treatment and recovery--and only the Saints showed any interest. But their gamble was rewarded; Hargrove played well (as a defensive tackle) and made some key plays in the Saints Super Bowl win over Indianapolis, the most important of which was a fourth-quarter tackle of Colts running back Joseph Addai on 3rd and goal from the Saints three. Addai was thrown for a two-yard loss and, on the next play, Peyton Manning threw incomplete, cinching the victory for the Saints.

Here's a heart-warming video of his redemptive turn-around, courtesy of the fine fellows at NFL Network, and another tracking him in Supe 44...

And then the worm turned again. Hargrove was one of the players involved in the Saint's bounty scandal. According to league sources, Hargrove signed a statement admitting his role in the scheme, which included putting a price on Brett Favre in the 2009 NFC Championship Game. Hargrove's NFL grave was dug a little deeper by his lying to investigators when the league initially probed the Saints about the bounty scandal in 2010.

Last May, the NFL suspended Hargrove for the first eight games of the 2012 season. Although he doesn't appear to fit the "RKG" mandate, perhaps the team feels he has the quickness (at 6'3" and 280lbs) to succeed as an strongside end or interior player in Kiffin's 4-3 scheme--after all, his greatest success came as a tackle in New Orleans.

Warren Sapp for one seems to like the pick:

More to follow...

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