It all started early on Tuesday morning. After free agency for the Dallas Cowboys settled down following the denouement of the DeMarco Murray story, things went to a fever pitch with word that free agent Greg Hardy from the Carolina Panthers was in Dallas for a visit. We were on it.
Outside of the off-the-field stuff, Greg Hardy is exactly what the Cowboys need. A young (26) defensive end with proven production rushing the passer. If they can get him at a reasonable price, and the suspension is not too big, AND he stays out of any trouble and turns his life around from the ugly incident that has been attached to his name, then Dallas scored big in free agency.
Our own Dawn Macelli contributed a thoughtful piece on the conflict many of us feel about his domestic violence issue.
I find myself conflicted. As a fan who wants nothing more than to see my team triumph, I want to see the best available talent on the roster. Greg Hardy fits that bill. As a woman, I want to see a day when attacks on women have take on the level of seriousness that the deserve. There must be consequences for actions such as the ones that Hardy has been accused of. I cannot have it both ways.
One reason that the Cowboys are hot on Hardy's trail is the perception that they need an impact player on defense to wrap up free agency.
Apologies to linebackers Andrew Gachkar and Jasper Brinkley along with cornerback Corey White, who was claimed off waivers from New Orleans, but this anonymous haul won't calm the restless throng. It will take a blue-chip or high-profile defensive player.
Only four remain: Hardy, tackle B.J. Raji, linebacker Brandon Spikes and linebacker Rolando McClain.
In the end, the NFL is a business, and the Cowboys like all teams have to work within the constraints of the salary cap. That is the overriding factor in all this.
The Cowboys have done their background on Hardy. At the combine, several team sources were dismissive of potentially adding Hardy via free agency because of the off-field baggage.
So what has changed?
Clearly the price has changed.
As free agency hits its second week, the economics start to shift. No longer is it the players' market. It's the teams' market where bargains start to become the norm.
The Cowboys have factored their need with the potential price and have deemed it worth trying to sew up a deal with Hardy.
No matter what ambivalence some fans might feel about Hardy coming to the Cowboys, it became increasingly evident through the day that the team was pushing hard to make this happen.
Greg Hardy doesn't have a contract but his visit with the Cowboys is far from done. A source said the defensive end is scheduled to go to dinner with members of the coaching staff this evening and will stay overnight as the two sides try to hammer out a contract.
It looks like the Cowboys will try to wrap this up today.
Hardy is scheduled to remain in the Dallas area until Wednesday with a possible revisit in the morning, which could involve a physical if the negotiations get that far.
And it is apparently a full court press, with the big gun ready to be used.
Stay with us for the latest developments.
Meanwhile, there was other Cowboys related news, including continued fallout from the Murray flight to Philadelphia.
The question is whether the Cowboys or the Eagles will rush for the most yards. Todd Archer argues that the Eagles will, but because of weakness, not strength.
Kelly has shown a willingness to run the ball.
And he will have to run the ball in 2015 to protect his quarterback, be it Sam Bradford, Mark Sanchez or Marcus Mariota, if the Eagles are able to draft him. Let's go with the assumption that Bradford will be the guy even if many believe Kelly isn't done dealing.
Bradford is coming off a torn anterior cruciate ligament. He hasn't been able to stay healthy for most of his career. The Eagles aren't exactly flush with wide receivers with Jeremy Maclin gone. Riley Cooper is their new No. 1. Jordan Matthews had a productive rookie year. Josh Huff didn't do much of anything.
And the quarterback carousel is not necessarily over in Philly.
It looks like Vegas is taking the idea that Chip Kelly's machinations have altered the balance of power in the NFC East with a grain of salt.
In an updated list of Super Bowl odds, the Cowboys remain ahead of the Eagles in the futures list.
The Cowboys are listed at 16/1, while the Eagles are 18/1, according to Bovada.
Meanwhile, there are other pieces of the pass rush puzzle for Dallas.
There is a lot of hope that Tyrone Crawford will show serious improvement. And there is good reason for that hope.
During the 2014 season, he started all 15 games he played and was credited with 37 tackles by the coaches to go with three sacks, four tackles for loss, 29 quarterback pressures, a pass deflection and a forced fumble.
And he didn't really know what he was doing.
Don't forget that the Cowboys spent two draft picks in a trade up to get DeMarcus Lawrence. He was hobbled by injury early in the season, but things turned around late.
David Helman: It's amazing the impact that a couple of games can have on a guy's stock. If the Cowboys' season had ended at Week 17, you'd chalk Lawrence up as a slight disappointment. It wouldn't have necessarily been his fault, as his foot injury held him out for eight weeks and limited his ability to make an impact. Instead, the Cowboys had a two-game playoff run where the rookie shined. He sacked Matthew Stafford during the most crucial possession of the win against Detroit, and he recovered crucial fumbles - twice, as a result of his own miscue. A week later, he was one of just a few players to have success reaching Aaron Rodgers. It was a tantalizing glimpse of why the Cowboys traded away their 78th overall pick to acquire Lawrence.
Oh, and there is a draft that is pretty deep in rushers, too. The Sturminator gives his take on a possible target for the Cowboys.
Overall, you want a "jack of all trades, master of a few" DL type to add to your mix here in Dallas (or in a number of cities). Smith may not have jaw dropping top-side, but his overall game and his battle level is exactly what you look for in a defensive linemen. He is disruptive and full of energy, along with a nice array of hand skills and moves that show you that while he may not be your star, he is certainly a nice piece of an ensemble cast that should build and rotate to the vital portion of the game where a single play might make the difference. The best part about Smith is that while there is no guarantee where he goes, it is possible he could slide to a fortunate team in Round 2. That team will certainly feel that they were able to acquire an additional 1st round player in this draft.
There are hints that things are not going well with Rolando McClain, but the Cowboys go into the draft with linebackers to try and build the roster.
There's no telling what impact the two signings will have on the 2015 season right now, but they do offer up a bit of insurance. However they might choose to play them, the Cowboys now have a variety linebackers with starting experience, as Brinkley and Gachkar join Sean Lee, Anthony Hitchens, Keith Rivers and Kyle Wilber as contenders to earn starting jobs.