Mike Neal will not be the only defensive lineman on the Packers roster that is sitting out the start of the 2012 season.
According to Adam Caplan of the Sideline View, free-agent pickup Tony Hargrove will be suspended eight games next season for his role in the New Orleans Saints’ bounty program.
The #NFL announced MLB Jonathan Vilma has been suspended for this season. Fujita 3 games. DL Tony Hargrove8 games.Will Smith 4 games.
— Adam Caplan (@caplannfl) May 2, 2012
The Packers signed Hargrove to a one-year, $825,000 deal in late March, despite the possibility that he could be receiving a lengthy suspension from the league. Hargrove was among the players that roughed up Minnesota Vikings quarterback Brett Favre during the 2010 NFC Championship Game, which later resulted in a fine for the seventh-year defensive tackle.
Once the league exposed the Saints’ bounty program soon after the 2011 season, Hargrove’s name arose as one that could be hit with a suspension. According to Ian Rapoport of NFL.com, Hargrove received such a harsh ban because he “obstructed the league’s 2010 investigation into the program by being untruthful to investigators.”
Given Hargrove’s veteran minimum contract, the Packers could choose to cut ties before the 2012 season even starts. The salary cap hit from such a decision would hardly register. However, Hargrove will likely appeal the suspension, and he wouldn’t count against the Packers’ 53-man roster during his suspension.
Green Bay also drafted two defensive linemen in the first four rounds in Michigan State’s Jerel Worthy and Iowa’s Mike Daniels, which gives the team depth at the position even if Hargrove was let go.
In seven years with the St. Louis Rams, Buffalo Bills, New Orleans Saints and Seattle Seahawks, Hargrove tallied 223 tackles, 19.5 sacks and four forced fumbles.