Cowboys add Davis to offensive line

Updated: March 5, 2007, 1:00 PM ET
By Michael Smith | ESPN.com

The Dallas Cowboys have agreed to terms on a seven-year, $49.6 million contract with free agent offensive lineman Leonard Davis, the second pick in the 2001 NFL draft who has played the last six seasons for the Arizona Cardinals.

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Davis will receive $24 million over the first three years of the contract, and $18.75 million of Davis' contract is guaranteed.

"It's a new chapter in my life," Davis said. "I want to win games, which obviously I haven't been able to do in this part of my career. Right now, all I can do is look forward to being successful. ... I want to be able to have some respect, earn respect."

Davis, 6-feet-6, 366 pounds, is expected to play either right tackle or right guard for the Cowboys, depending on the resolution of contract talks with current Cowboys right tackle Marc Columbo, an unrestricted free agent the Cowboys hope to re-sign.

"It just glares out at you the flexibility his skills give us making what we want to be now and in the future what we want to do in our offensive line," Cowboys owner Jerry Jones said.

Davis' contract exceeds the free agent deals of Bills guard Derrick Dockery (7 years, $49 million) and Browns guard Eric Steinbach (7 years, $49.5 million).

Davis visited the Washington Redskins and was considering a visit to the New York Giants but decided on the Cowboys due to a desire to stay close to his hometown of Wortham, Texas, just south of Dallas.

The Redskins were looking at Davis, who has played every offensive line position except center, as a possible replacement for Dockery at left guard. The Giants were interested in Davis filling the void at left tackle left by recently-released Luke Petitgout. Davis initially visited Dallas on Friday but the sides did not agree on a contract.

After meeting with Washington officials Saturday, Davis and his agent, Ryan Tollner, returned to Dallas early Sunday, ending an intriguing competition between the NFC East rivals for the services of the former Pro Bowl alternate. A press conference to introduce Davis is tentatively scheduled for Monday.

"The decision when it came down to it was not about the money. It was about where I really wanted to live my life," Davis said. "I'm excited just to know that something new is coming up. It will be a challenge, but I'm all about challenges."

Davis was an All-America tackle at the University of Texas, and played his first three seasons at guard for the Cardinals before switching to tackle the last three seasons.

Senior writer Michael Smith covers the NFL for ESPN.com. The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Michael Smith

NFL Senior Writer
Michael Smith joined ESPN in July 2004 as a National Football League senior writer for ESPN.com, covering league news and major events such as the NFL Draft, NFL Playoffs and the Super Bowl, and continues to write breaking news stories. He is also a correspondent for E:60, ESPN's first multi-themed prime-time newsmagazine program, which debuted October 2007.