About an hour after we noted the Green Bay Packers had turned their attention toward the composition of their roster, the team announced five roster cuts. By far the most notable name was defensive end Anthony Hargrove, a rare free-agent acquisition who learned a few weeks after he signed with the team that he would be suspended eight games as part of the NFL's discipline for the New Orleans Saints bounty program.
The Packers had the option of carrying Hargrove on their suspended list once the season began. He wouldn't have counted against their 53-man roster during that time period, but it was also clear that the looming suspension had created a roadblock. The Packers gave him only a handful of snaps in team periods, acknowledging they needed to distribute them instead to players who were eligible to start the season. In many ways, the Packers were forced to move on.
I don't blame the Packers for taking care of the team first. But for what it's worth, I agree with a thought tweeted out this evening by Albert Breer of the NFL Network, who suggested the release "could raise some legal liability for NFL tied to the Saints' bounty situation."
We've spent a lot of time picking through the evidence the NFL presented against Hargrove, most of which was easy to poke holes in. In the end, it was difficult to understand explicitly what exactly Hargrove was suspended for.
A reasonable person could put two and two together and suggest Hargrove wouldn't have been released Friday if he hadn't been suspended. In other words, the bounty discipline has significantly impacted Hargrove's career. We'll see if that leads anywhere from a legal perspective.