3-5-07 - Leonard Davis and the Dallas Cowboys finalized a nearly $50 million, seven-year deal Monday for the free agent offensive lineman to come home with a fresh start.
Davis wasn't re-signed by the Arizona Cardinals, who took him with the second overall pick out of Texas in 2001. The 6-foot-6, 372-pound Davis is from Wortham, Texas, about 80 miles south of Dallas.
"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."
The deal includes $18.75 million in guaranteed money, a team-record $16 million signing bonus and a $2.75 million salary for 2007.
In Arizona, the 28-year-old Davis played guard and tackle while starting all 91 of his games over six seasons. But he never reached the Pro Bowl-level many envisioned for him.
The Cowboys aren't sure which position he'll play.
"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.
Dallas is still negotiating to keep right tackle Marc Colombo from leaving in free agency. Right guard Marco Rivera recently back surgery for the second time in less than three years.
The signing bonus surpasses the $13 million given to Hall of Fame quarterback Troy Aikman, defensive back Deion Sanders and former guard Larry Allen.
But Davis' deal came only days after free agent lineman Eric Steinbach (Cleveland Browns) and Derrick Dockery (Buffalo Bills) got similar seven-year deals that included $17 million to $18 in guaranteed money.
Davis also visited with the Washington Redskins before choosing the Cowboys. The New York Giants were also interested in the lineman.
"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."
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