Cowboys Hardy: An Agreement Is Brewing
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The pursuit of Greg Hardy, the gifted free-agent defensive end with the domestic-violence issue, was a "feeling-out-process'' weeks ago.
But CowboysHQ.com knows that Tuesday's session at Valley Ranch was a negotiating session, following by a evening dinner with coaches, followed by what both sides hope is a crossing of "T's'' and dotting of "I's'' following a morning physical.
"The meetings went very, very well,'' a source close to the Hardy talks tells us.
"Second-tier'' means "second chances.'' That's the long-held view of owner Jerry Jones -- likely the "closer'' in this deal, fitting his strength -- and it's also the view of Jeremy Mincey, who visited with us tonight to share his views on the soon-to-be-signed defensive end.
"I love him,'' Mincey tells us. "He fits.''
Ah, but what about the fact that with a lot of sacks comes a lot of baggage? Hardy is a stud. He recorded 15 sacks in 2013 for the Carolina Panthers, is 6-4 and 275 and just 26 years old, and fits everything Dallas does. Is there a point where the price is so low that the baggage becomes tolerable? Obviously -- because suddenly, that's exactly what's happening at Valley Ranch at this moment. And Mincey is fine with that.
"It doesn't matter to me,'' Mincey says frankly, "as long as (we're) on the field hitting someone. And you can quote me.''
Mincey's not along here. There is a highly respected Cowboys leader we've gauged who feels the same way, and with Hardy being a unique talent, all involved are willing to find a balance here ... with the hope that Hardy did a terrible thing but isn't a terrible person.
There are dozen of Hardy-related tales out there now: How Dallas can't fit his salary, how signing him blocks signing McClain, how signing him means there's no financial way to chase Adrian Peterson, how this is a "smokescreen'' or a "trial balloon'' or an agent's "trick'' intended on guiding Hardy to Tampa or Oakland.
That's not the view of anybody in that room. None of it. The people in that room think this is a done deal when the physical clears on Wednesday morning. And Mincey and other people in that locker room are just fine with that.
Why Andrew Gachkar? Well, why not? After losing special teams ace Dwayne Harris to the New York Giants, the Cowboys needed to fill the void left at special teams while also stocking the shelves at linebacker.
Gachkar racked up 14 special-teams tackles in 2014, tied for the 14th-most in the league. It's what he did for Rich Bisaccia in 2011 when the Chargers drafted Gachkar in the seventh and head coach Norv Turner played him all 16 games. The only other Charger who had more special teams tackles than Gachkar's 12 in '11 was future Cowboy C.J. Spillman with 18.
"Rich kind of drafted me and bring me into the NFL," Gachkar told CowboysHQ.
Was it really Bisaccia who wanted Gachkar in Dallas, or did his former college defensive coordinator, Matt Eberflus, want the Overland Park Blue Valley star to come to Valley Ranch?
"Honestly, equally, they're very important people in my decision coming to Dallas," Gachkar said. "Eberflus brought me up and is kind of like a dad to me. Coach Eberflus, he was with me at Mizzou, and I love the way he coaches and his intensity and everything like that."
Dallas can certainly use his services at linebacker with the departure of Justin Durant to the Falcons, Bruce Carter to the Buccaneers, and the uncertainty of Rolando McClain. Gachkar started five out of 15 games last season with the Chargers, recording a sack and also returning a fumble recovery for a 13-yard touchdown.
For the past four pro seasons, Gachkar has played in the 3-4 defense. Can he get back to his old college-day familiarity with the 4-3 under Eberflus?
Said Gachkar: "Learning to play a 4-3 again, it's a task, but I don't think it'll be too hard. I spent four years in college. We played the 4-3, and coming to the NFL to play in the 3-4 was an adjustment itself."
Poor Andrew had to wait three hours on the tarmac at Logan International in Boston waiting for his flight to take off due to the snow blasting the Northeast. However, the excitement of coming to Big D sustained him.
"I was excited to get here, and I was texting my wife the whole time on the plane," Gachkar said. "Talking about the excitement of being in Dallas where she's from. So, it's awesome."
*How the Cowboys will cash in on compensatory picks for this spring's losses. Great work by KD here.
*The Cowboys didn't tender cornerback Sterling Moore. They have claimed cornerback Corey White off waivers from New Orleans, where he started nine games in 2014 before losing his first-team job and ending up playing some safety. Do you like Moore better than White? Or does it matter that the Marinellis and the McClays like White better than Moore?
*Here's the "why'' of Dallas' signing of Darren McFadden. ... to a deal that includes a 2015 salary of what we're told is just $900,000. Heads-up here: What if McFadden isn't meant as DeMarco's replacement, but rather the replacement for any backup runner who happens to put his fist through a windshield? Dallas has also signed middle linebacker Jasper Brinkley and fullbacks Jed Collins and Ray Agnew. Brinkley is going to be your starting MIKE if the McClain talks keep stalling.
*And speaking of running backs: There is simply no logic to Dallas being "out'' on an Adrian Peterson deal until their "out.'' The guaranteed-money demands, the trade demands, the other bidders ... factors all. But why would a runner back out of a race -- no matter how unlikely a win -- before the race even begins? We detail some truths about AD and Dallas here.
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