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Hargrove Suspended 8 Games for Role in Saints' Bounty Program

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Hargrove Suspended 8 Games for Role in Saints' Bounty Program

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 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.

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Fan friendly comments only: off Comments (64) This filter will hide comments which have ratio of 5 to 1 down-vote to up-vote.

gbslapshot's picture

cut him

packeraaron's picture

Why? That would be dumb.

BuyMeLove's picture

No it wouldn't. We don't know if Hargrove would even be productive (he wasn't with the seahwaks). Yes depth is important but an eight game suspension means you have to make changes and move on anyway.

gbslapshot's picture

Because if he is deserving of an 8 game suspension then he is not worthy of playing for the Packers...plain and simple.

pkrNboro's picture

When he's suspended, will he not be banned from practice and team facilities?

He's new to the Packers, so his time off won't help with his understanding of the GB defense, nor his conditioning.

If he's in camp, he'll be robbing snaps from people that will have to perform in his absence.

I've read where he's not the Hargrove that was with the Saints in '09, and that he's lost a step in each of the subsequent years.

He could well be a big zilch, upon his return, when everyone else is taking it to the next level.

Food for thought regarding possible reasons to cut him...

Mojo's picture

What pkrNboro says concerns me as much as anything. If he's lost a step the last two years, maybe he's not what we hoped he would be. There might be a lot of bad seeds in his "juice". Fortunately, the Packers have enough bodies now to cover for him even with Neal's suspension.

The other thing is trying to obstruct the proceedings. I'm for giving people a second chance when they do things that harm themselves, but Hargrove's fairly recent bad decision making seems to be a reoccurring theme.

Mike's picture

Agree Aaron. No reason to cut him now. Rookies may look good early but we know they often fade late. Nothing like a good hungry vet to come in and inject some energy. Plus we dont know what the injury/IR list will look like after week 8. If he looks good in preseason just keep him.

Anthony's picture

This is absolutely ridiculous that some of you think we should get rid of him. The Packers knew ALL along he would probably be suspended. So why would they release him for something they already got ready for happening? He was a decent player for the Seahawks, and he will be for the Packers -- once he steps on the field. He hasn't gotten into any trouble since 2010, and if you think FOR A SECOND that Ted would've signed him without thinking he was straightened up, you are crazy.

Jake's picture

Is that right.... ANTHONY?!?!?!?!?!

Anthony's picture

One, my last name isn't Hargrove. Two, I'm 20 years old.

MarkinMadison's picture

I think that it is fair to say that the Packers may not have expected an 8 game suspension when they signed him. I think that it is also fair to say they may not have known about the potential for an "obstruction" enhancer. I also think that this will be appealed, so maybe Neal's suspension and Hargrove's will not overlap much. All of which has to be sorted out, assuming that Hargrove shows something in camp.

PackersRS's picture

What mark said. They knew there was a big chance of him being suspended. But this long? No way they would've signed him if they even considered such a long suspension.

PackersRS's picture

I wouldn't cut him now. I'd wait till the roster cuts.

If he proves to be vastly superior to all other Dlinemen competing for a spot, keep him, he'll be of help later in the season.

If his superiority is marginal or non-existent, then cost-benefit dictates that he should be cut. Rather they spend that roster spot on someone with upside, that can actually play in the games.

Anthony's picture

Completely agree. I think most, if not all players need to be looked at this way. If Hargrove shows in any way that he's a bit better than some of the other D-linemen on our team, keep him. Otherwise, let him go. But only when we see what he has.

Can he be put on the PUP for the first half of the season?

bryce's picture

they knew when they signed him that he was going to get suspended...it's a veterans minimum one year deal...low risk, high reward

Shawn Ladelcomb's picture

Well it was gonna happen, I didn't think it would be as much as 8 games though. I think the Packers have to release him. He won't get the opportunity to learn Capers scheme and he may have been useless anyway (was for the Seahawks). Mike Neal's 4 games is just bearable, but only just.

markinmontana's picture

If this is the extent of the player suspensions, it doesn't bode well that he was one of only four singled out and recieved the second-harshest suspension of the group.

Evan's picture

According to twitter, his penalty was so severe because he lied when the league first started digging into this in 2010.

Shawn's picture

I don't think it was so much that only these four players were the ones doing the bounty stuff as the NFL only had enough of what they consider to be evidence to go after these four players. I’m sure they would have liked to send an even bigger message by suspending a few more of them.

Evan's picture

Good thing we play the Saints week 4. No Fujita, Smith or Vilma.

Evan's picture

In the same vein, only 3 of the first 8 games feature elite QBs (Bears, Saints, Texans).

murphy's picture

Only 1 of those three teams has an elite QB.

PackersRS's picture

I'm on record predicting that Cutler will have a breakout year. If he plays anything like he was before he got injuried, he's very close to an elite QB.

I'm also on record predicting that, once again, he'll not finish the season healthy, and that despite his elite play, his numbers (and the Bears') won't be all that good, because that OL is a complete mess.

bryce's picture

I'll back you on that one.

dat der Packer-backer's picture

Fujita is on the Browns. ;)

Evan's picture

And his suspension is only 3 games. So, I was wrong on two fronts. ha

packeraaron's picture

Fujita is with the Browns now.

Evan's picture

You don't need to rub my error in my face.

MarkinMadison's picture

Did anyone mention that Fujita is with the Browns? :-)

IowaPackFan's picture

Fujita hasn't played for the Saints since 2009.

Evan's picture

Ha. You sonofa...

Jake's picture

Yeah but Fujita is on the Browns now...

dat der Packer-backer's picture

Hopefully we start seeing Worthy as a contributer in those early games. And as we talked last year about Raji being overworked, half a season being over Hargrave comes in and offers hunger and freshness. I think we'll be fine.

tony's picture

So does that put the base d-line as Raji/Pickett at the nose, Pickett/Worthy/Daniels at LDE, and Wynn/Worthy/Daniels at RDE as the main rotation? Then throw in Neal when he's not hurt or suspended? Seems livable.

Getting Hargrove for the second half will be a nice little bonus.

Mike's picture

Exactly,getting him & Neal back would be a big boost to the defense. As I said earlier, we don't know what the injury report will look like and it is almost guaranteed that rookies like Worthy and Daniels will wear down some. I'm sure Capers and Trgovac would love an extra body or two that they can rotate in on gamedays

MIKE47SMITH's picture

If the Packers were planning to (which I dont think they were) depend on Hargrove to be a starter, then they have more problems than I thought. So to me this is not that big of a deal. They'll keep him and hope to use him for half a season and the playoffs if he can stay in shape and out of trouble while suspended.

Idiot Fan's picture

At this point, given the current roster, FAs we signed, and people we drafted, we might have more D-linemen than we have roster spots for. If that's the case, then when Hargrove comes back we would probably have to cut another lineman to make room. So, do you cut an average known quantity like Wynn or Wilson for someone who may be good and may be terrible? Hopefully the staff will have some way of knowing what they have in Hargrove prior to that point.

tony's picture

I'll bet one of the DL is bad enough to get cut for Hargrove at the halfway point.

DanTX's picture

Agreed. Daniels will need to step up in his role and beat out Wynn for passing situations, which shouldn't be difficult. However, with injuries all your doing by cutting him is forcing TT to resign someone again when the bug hits. He stays.

DanTX's picture

this was intended as a response to Cole, not tony...

Cole's picture

Someone will have blown out a knee by week 9, cutting him would be stupid. We could use him for the playoff push.

DaveK's picture

When suspended he won't have any contact with the team. No practice. No weight room. No team meetings. No weigh-ins. Nothing. That's usually not a good outcome for defensive lineman. He isn't going to come into week 9 and contribute. Week 10 is a bye and he'd probably be ready by week 11 at Detroit. That gives you 7 games of regular season production. But, it might be a hard decision come week 8 when TT has to decide who to cut to put him on the 53 man roster. Regardless, I see no downside (besides some minor PR issues) to keeping him around as a camp body and injury insurance through week 8.

Starry Barts's picture

If he doesn't count against the roster and they're not paying him, can't they keep him until week 8, then size up the roster/injury situation and make a decision then?
That seems the best and clearest situation.

Evan's picture

Exactly.

He's not going anywhere right now. This did not come as a surprise to the Packers front office.

Everyone worrying about having to cut someone to make room for him in week 8 need to take a step back. There's no telling how the roster will look by mid-season. That's a bridge they'll cross when they get there.

chuck's picture

Good insurance in case one or two of the young lineman don't pan out. Or in case another DL goes down mid season. Don't think cutting Wilson, Wynn, Muir, etc. mid season would ruin the team. Maybe some competition for their job will light a fire under them. Yeah he'd be away from the team, but he'd have to come back pissed with something to prove, and playing for next years contract. I can't imagine he wouldn't be an upgrade to Wilson, Wynn, or Muir, maybe even Neal.

Evan's picture

I'm not that familiar with the Saints roster, but what would the equivalent players be for the Packers to lose? Matthews and Raji? Bishop and Raji? Bishop and Pickett?

FITZCORE1252's EVO's picture

He wasn't even a Saint last year... Seahack.

Evan's picture

Huh?

I'm talking about Vilma and Smith and who would be comparable players on the Packers. Just trying to get a better perspective on what they're losing.

Jamie's picture

Maybe a tad more than Bishop and Pickett.

FITZCORE1252's EVO's picture

I just assumed Hargrove would have been one of the guys you were looking for a comp on, being he's the only friggin name in the headline! Lol.

Since villma's play absolutely sucked last year, I would say he would be comparable to Hawk. Smith... Not Raji, cuz we would be absolutely screwed without him, smith is important to what they do, but not as important as what Raji does for us. Maybe Picket??? Tough comparison to make.

FITZCORE1252's EVO's picture

Keep him on, maybe he'll add some juice mid season. If not, it will at least be a fresh body for the rotation.

GBP 4 LIFE

Rocky70's picture

Look for his suspension to be reduced. Maybe even cut in half. The NFLPA is just now starting the push-back on these suspensions. Lower the suspensions in exchange for no legal challenge ???

Evan's picture

Since the appeal goes to the guy who made the judgement in the first place (a pretty silly system, if you ask me), I'd be surprised to see them reduced.

I read somewhere today that Hargrove signed what is essentially a confession in order to get a reduced sentence already.

greenbowl's picture

I think this is brilliant - Having a extra body on the defensive line that you can activate, if needed, for the super bowl run.

FITZCORE1252's EVO's picture

Like.

Kelly's picture

Not to sound completely jaded or pessimistic, but it seems Ted just got a potentially quality back up 8th year lineman for the second half of the season for HALF PRICE of the league minimum. Could be a strategic move. After all, it's the second half of the season when linemen start dropping over from injuries left and right.

Price sounds right for seasoned talent even if he can't play the first half of the season.

FITZCORE1252's EVO's picture

I like where your head's at Kelly. That's pretty much the way I view the thing, so that makes you correct. Well done.

DaveK's picture

It really is like a insurance policy that TT can cancel by week 9 and pay no premium.

dawg's picture

I want to hear what TT MM have to say!

Nononsense's picture

DaveK nailed it. I understand the concern about what kind of shape he would be in upon his return. Its a valid one but I don't care if he palys at all for the first 10-12 games of the season as long as hes healthy and ready to contribute to the stretch run and hopefully into the playoffs.

Remember the shot in the arm Howard Green provided when he arrived during the late part of the 2010 season. We went all the way to the SB and he made one of the most impactful plays of the SB against the Steelers.

Hargrove is a better player than Green ever was and I for one would love to imject him into this defense sometime during the second half of the season.

Ease him into it if you have to but I bet he comes in after the suspension in good shape and foaming at the mouth to play. He will have his play book the whole time so he shouldn't be too far behind when he gets back. He will get all the OTAs, TC and the preseason to learn the defense and get coached up.

Bomdad's picture

How did Darren Sharper avoid a suspension? :)

Shawn's picture

Can we fake an injury and put him on the PUP for the first half of the year??

fish/crane's picture

Let's face it . We are at least a year away from having much of a D. Until then, let's catch the ball.

Evan's picture

I disagree. We went from having one of the league's best defenses to one of the league's worst in the course of one year. And it was all pretty much the result of some key players regressing. If those players regain their 2010 form and the rookies provide a spark, there is no reason the 2012 defense can't be a force.

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