THE DELICATE BALANCE: Veteran Anthony Hargrove adds defensive line depth, but youth must eventually take over
Currently, three of the four projected starting linemen are at least 30, and defensive end Anthony Spencer is 29.
Hargrove turns 30 in July.
The Dallas Cowboys didn’t address the defensive line in the draft but did so in free agency with the signing of Hargrove.
Jason Hatcher is in the final year of his contract, and he turns 31 in July.
Spencer, who doesn’t turn 30 until next January, is playing on the franchise tag and talks have slowed down regarding a new deal. Hatcher and Spencer could play elsewhere in 2014.
As for Jay Ratliff, the defensive tackle who will battle centers and guards this season, he will turn 32 in August. Do you remember the man Ratliff replaced? Jason Ferguson was 32 when he suffered an arm injury early in the 2007 season, opening the door for Ratliff to become the full-time starter. Health and age dooms NFL players all the time.
Ratliff is coming off an injury-filled 2012 season and it’s assumed this could be his last season with the Cowboys given his age and how his health betrayed him last season.
DeMarcus Ware isn’t going anywhere. Ware, however, turns 31 in July and is coming back from shoulder surgery and a dislocated elbow.
Age isn’t on the Cowboys’ side when it comes to the defensive line. While it’s good to have Hargrove provide depth as someone who can play end and tackle in the 4-3, the future is uncertain for this position.
Based on the offseason moves by the Cowboys, the defensive line is geared for the here and now, not for the future. The Cowboys had a chance to address the defensive line in the draft but expressed support for what they currently have.
That’s fine, but at some point youth must take over.
New Dallas Cowboys defensive end Anthony Hargrove has quite the story. Born in New York, he lost his mother to AIDS at the age of nine. After moving in with his aunt and uncle he found football and became one of the best high school quarterbacks in the state.
He moved to defensive tackle, quit school and found his way onto the team when he entered the draft, got involved in drugs, then kicked the habit.
You can hear him explain the full side of the story here:
ON THE FIELD: Anthony Hargrove gets a safety vs. Giants
As for what he can do on the field, here is some of his best work…
On Wednesday, Dallas Cowboys executive vice president Stephen Jones said he wouldn’t rule out signing any unrestricted free agents.
The Cowboys signed veteran free agent defensive end Anthony Hargrove to a one-year deal today (on Thursday).
Hargrove was signed by the Green Bay Packers in March 2012 but was released in August, which may have been related to the eight-game suspension he received from the NFL for his alleged involvement in the New Orleans Saints’ bounty scandal.
The 29-year-old journeyman was with the Seattle Seahawks in 2011 and the Saints in 2009 and 2010. His first five seasons in the NFL were spent with the Buffalo Bills and St. Louis Rams.
Hargrove, a third-round draft pick by St. Louis in 2004, had his best statistical season in 2005 when he recorded 6.5 sacks and 51 tackles while making 15 starts for the Rams. Hargrove, who has recorded 19.5 career sacks, has appeared in 102 NFL games, starting 25.
The Cowboys released guard D.J. Hall to make room for Hargrove on the roster.