Cowboys Exclusive: 'No' On Greg Hardy
This is a justifiably sensitive time in the NFL for domestic-violence cases. The Carolina Panthers are understandable reacting to Greg Hardy's involvement in such a case that they are ready to part ways with their franchise-tagged player of a year ago after recording 15 sacks in 2013.
Hardy, who will be 27 this year, missed 15 games in 2014 after being charged with domestic violence, and spent the year on the Commissioners exception list (paid suspension). If not for his off-field issues, he would be a highly-sought-after player ... by the Dallas Cowboys and everyone else. Even with the charges against him dropped, he is still subject to potential league discipline, and that's a factor.
The Cowboys' position here? Sources told Mike Fisher that the front office was "open-minded'' about the possibility of bidding on the 6-4, 275-pound Hardy as free agency began ... meaning, they would explore it. But all along, it was a highly delicate issue; the Cowboys have no desire to appear to be too forgiving of whatever idiocy Hardy's been involved in, and from where we sit, we think it's important to investigate how extensive his "problem'' might be -- regardless of how the court system handled his case.
But "open-minded'' was news. And Greg Hardy is a player.
But in the latest development here, CHQ has been given a flat "no'' from the personnel department as we're about to enter the second wave of free-agent shopping. Would the baggage be too much? Yes, especially because this isn't just about stuff in the past but also about red flags for the future. Would the money be too much? So it seems, as his showboating Drew Rosenhaus is floating the idea of six teams courting the player, suggesting a bidding battle is about to ensue.
The Cowboys need help in the pass-rush department. And maybe things change if Hardy sits on the shelf to the third wave. But right now? The position is a flat "no.''
*Heads up on the compensatory picks Dallas will be getting for losing DeMarco and the rest. Done right, this will be a Cowboys windfall in 2016, as KD brilliantly explains here.
*Dwayne Harris considers himself the NFL’s most versatile special-teamer and now the Giants will pay him that way, luring him away from Dallas with what sources tell us is a five-year, $17.5-million contract.
"Will be taking my talents to the Big Apple,'' Harris tweeted Tuesday, shortly after the NFL's free-agency shopping period opened.
Harris caught just seven passes for 116 yards (with four carries for seven yards). But offense wasn’t his Cowboys forte as much as special-teams play was. He dipped a bit in 2014, averaging 24.7 yards per kick return and 9.2 yards per punt return. But the year before he averaged 30.6 yards per kick return and 12.8 yards per punt return, in addition to perennially being Dallas’ best kick-coverage guy. He also led the Cowboys with 18 special-teams tackles.
Meanwhile ... A couple of days ago we spoke to Justin Durant and despite his impending free agency, he was optimistic about returning to the Dallas Cowboys.
"I'm glad people are interested," The team captain told us. "And hopefully we get it done."
It turns out the "people'' that are most interested are the Atlanta Falcons, who are hiring away Durant after his two seasons in Dallas.
The Cowboys have prioritized the return of Rolando McClain, will get Sean Lee back from injury, have Anthony Hitchens coming off a fine rookie season, and have signed NFL veteran Keith Rivers to a deal.
But Durant was the consummate pro during his time here even as he missed two thirds of last season due to injury. He earned a reputation as a playmaker and was even voted team captain by his mates as he began his second year at Valley Ranch.
*We reported Monday afternoon that agent Tom Condon has no face-to-face meeting scheduled with the Joneses regarding client Dez Bryant's cap-compliance-deadline-beating "Cowboys For Life'' deal. This is not a good thing. We will monitor. Research here for how the Dez deal works.
We reported on Sunday that the "Tyron Trigger'' would happen before cap-compliance time, 3 p.m. Monday. It's done, and now Dallas has about $9 million of room (with Tyson's $8 mil of space created). In addition to DeMarco, Rolando McClain is a priority and Dallas is touching base there.
*The Cowboys are sitting on the Brandon Carr talks right now, likely to re-explore if/when needed.
*The Buccaneers signed Bruce Carter to $20.5-mil deal for four years. Last year Carter recorded 68 tackles with five interceptions. Henry Melton is also signing with Tampa. And Sterling Moore is visiting there.
*Here's the "why'' of Dallas' signing of Darren McFadden.
*Should we be angry at Cowboys management for opting to avoid paying "star-market-value'' for a good player they think is replaceable? Should we be mad at DeMarco Murray for being told Dallas loves him near $6 mil and Philly loves him near $9 mil ... so he loves the $9 mil back more? We've got the details on DeMarco's departure to Philly here.
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