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March 16, 2012

Cowboys sign their second guard, getting Nate Livings

The Cowboys didn't make a big splash at offensive guard, but they did get the two players they wanted. Former Bengals guard Nate Livings agreed to a five-year, $19 million contract Friday, according to a source. He joins former Panthers guard Mackenzy Bernadeau, who signed a four-year, $11 million deal that included a $3.25 million signing bonus.

The Cowboys now have signed seven players, the most they have ever signed in an off-season since unfettered free agency began in 1993.

Livings, who turned 30 today, is 6-5, 332 pounds. He has started 47 games in the past four seasons with the Bengals, including all 16 games each of the past two seasons. Pro Football Focus rated him the 56th-best guard in football last season, behind the Cowboys' starting guards, Kyle Kosier and Montrae Holland.

Bernadeau, 26, has 20 starts in four seasons, including 12 in 2010. He started one game last season, though he appeared in 15.

The Cowboys have overhauled their offensive line the past few off-seasons. Gone are Andre Gurode, Leonard Davis, Flozell Adams and Marc Colombo. They drafted Tyron Smith with the ninth overall pick last year, and he will switch from right tackle to left tackle this season. Doug Free will move from left tackle to right tackle.

Kosier, the one constant in the line over the past six seasons, with 80 starts at guard, could be moving to center to compete with Phil Costa and Kevin Kowalski for the starting job.

"Kyle has shown some versatility," Cowboys coach Jason Garrett said in a conference call Thursday. "He's played left guard for us and right guard for us. He has been our backup center at different times during his time here. What we're trying to do is create competition, bring players in from the outside, evaluate the players that we have, and then when the time comes to get out on the football field, we'll see how it all shakes out.

"There is a business aspect to all this stuff. You've got to make sure the numbers all work and you're allocating the appropriate resources throughout your football team. But competition is good, and we're excited to see the progress those guys can make as we get going here in the spring."

The Cowboys started three left guards last season. Bill Nagy started four games as a rookie before going on injured reserve with a fractured right ankle. Veteran Derrick Dockery started two games before a fractured tibia and sprained knee. Holland, who was released before the season and then re-signed after Nagy was injured, started 10 games before being injured himself.

Holland and Dockery are free agents. Besides Nagy, a seventh-round pick last year, the Cowboys have another young lineman in David Arkin, a fourth-round pick last season. Arkin did not play as a rookie.

"We like what some of the young guys were able to do last year, stepping in and really playing and having a role for us on our team," Garrett said. "But we want to get better throughout our team. We want to get better on our offensive line."

-- Charean Williams

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Comments

Aparently this Livings guy... is terrible in run blocking.

He only gave up 3.5 sacks last season, but he gets pushed off the line way too much. Every Bengals fan I have heard from is happy to see him go and mocking the Cowboys for picking him up.

At 6m guaranteed he really isn't getting "Starter" money though.. after this season he could be cut if it doesn't work out.

Regardless.. OL and DL still need a TON of help.

Have to give Jerry credit. While he over paid for Brandn Carr that signing and other signings have helped this team in their areas of needs. This shoulkd all but assure us that Jerry will take the best player available at pick 14 when he's on the clock.

So the two young kids Arkin and Nagy are going to get screwed? Let's face it, how much of a chance to grow will they have now?? Oh and we still have Kyle Kosier who is BLAH!

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