Greg Hardy Worth the Price if Given Incentive-Laden Contract

Carolina Panthers’ free agent defensive end Greg Hardy is on his way to Dallas Cowboys Headquarters this afternoon. According to ESPN NFL Insider Adam Schefter, the Cowboys and Hardy’s agent, Drew Rosenhaus, began negotiating a contract last evening, but have not come to an agreement at this time.Greg-Hardy

On May 13, 2014, Hardy was arrested and charged with assaulting and threatening to kill ex-girlfriend. A judge in North Carolina found Hardy guilty on July 15, but the verdict was set put on hold when Hardy requested a jury trial to hear his charges.

Hardy has not played since week 1 of the 2014 season. He was deactivated by the Panthers week 2 due to pressures around the league stemming from domestic violence issues. Baltimore Ravens’ running back Ray Rice was already on suspension for punching his wife who was his girlfriend at the time. Running back Adrian Peterson of the Minnesota Vikings was accused of hitting his son repeatedly with a tree branch as a form of punishment.

Although he is still on Commissioner Goodell’s Exemption List, Hardy can request reinstatement to the league since all charges against him from the May 2014 incident were dropped after his ex-girlfriend failed to appear at Hardy’s trial after receiving a financial settlement from Hardy.

With all that being said, is Hardy worth all the baggage he brings to the Cowboys or any other interested team? I believe the answer is yes.

Another NFL Insider, Peter King, believes Hardy will most likely be suspended the first six games of the 2015 season. If that is the case, Hardy would play 10 games this season or possibly eleven if his new team has a bye while he is on suspension.

Any team that signs Hardy should offer a one-year contract at the league minimum with a chance to make more based on incentives. This would be a low-risk signing with a possibility of a high reward impact. If Hardy keeps his head on straight, the team that signs him can negotiate with him before free agency begins next year in hopes of signing him to a long-term deal.

Hardy is built like a rugged defensive end. At 6’4″ and 275 pounds, he is strong and quick enough to fight his way off blocks and make tackles behind the line of scrimmage. During his last full-season in 2013, Hardy registered 15 sacks and was voted to the Pro Bowl.

The Dallas Cowboys can really use a high-profile signing like Hardy after losing running back DeMarco Murray to the Philadelphia Eagles last Friday. Can you imagine Hardy in Coach Rod Marinelli’s system? Marinelli was able to rotate players in and out of the lineup to keep them fresh, but none of them have the NFL resume that Hardy provides.

Signing Hardy to a contract would allow the Cowboys to go running back in the first round and possibly get Wisconsin’s Melvin Gordon, Georgia’s Todd Gurley, Indiana’s Tevin Coleman, or Miami’s Duke Johnson. Without Hardy, the Cowboys should try to go defense in the first two rounds and see what running backs are available in the third round to pair with recent free agent running back signee Darren McFadden.

I hear the Seahawks are also reportedly in the running for Hardy’s services and possibly a few more mystery teams. Wherever Hardy ends up, he needs to stay on the straight and narrow, or future chances to be signed by NFL teams will diminish.

And that’s…as I see it!

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