Today's collection of newsworthies will have a singular focus:
Let's trace the story step-by-step. We awoke to this narrative:
Greg Hardy to pick either Dallas Cowboys or Tampa Bay Buccaneers, agent says - ESPN.com
The ESPN national guys, specifically NFL Insider Adam Schefter, bit the hook Hardy's agent, Drew Rosenhaus, was dangling to drive up his price.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers not expected to sign Greg Hardy - ESPN.com
Predictably, this followed. The Buccaneers withdrew the interest that had never really been extended.
Before he signed, folks were asking: is he worth it? Several people weighed the pros and cons:
The Morning News shares the juiciest tidbits from an interview with former Carolina tight end Ben Hartsock, who shared what it is like to share a locker room with Hardy. My faves:
...before the whole domestic violence thing came down on him, he was more of just kind of viewed as kind of a cartoon figure in our locker room. He was kind of a harmless beast kind of thing, in the sense that everything was just kind of benign goofiness. But Greg can play football. Don't mix that up one bit. He can play football. You don't find guys who are 6-4 and can run 4.6...
The Greg Hardy that was on the field was gonna be a nightmare for the opposing team. But then you go in and everybody is in the hot tub or the cold tub after practice just shootin' the breeze and the guy carries on a very reasonable, level-headed inquisitive type of conversation. But then there are other times when he's just unmanageable.
He refers to himself as The Kraken. I asked him one day about it ... is this your character? How did this Kraken character come to be? He said some guy on Twitter gave him the nickname and he liked it, so he ran with it. It's become one of these things where he's almost losing touch with who Greg Hardy is at times. And The Kraken has taken over a little bit.
The Sturminator stepped into the film room to watch tape on Hardy and came away impressed. From a cut-up of a play against Tampa Bay OT Donald Penn:
Holy Cow. This shows you how terrified a left tackle is at Hardy having too much space to move around. Penn hardly gets a hand on him and looks like a Guard in all that area. Hardy shakes his hips like a running back and Penn is already on his heels. From there, Penn tries to wave at him as Hardy attacks a helpless Mike Glennon and tosses him to the ground. Guys this size are not supposed to be able to do that. That was a DeMarcus Ware move from a guy with about 20 more pounds on him. Hips, fluidity, and athleticism.
And then the news broke...
Tiny Jim was the first DFW-area writer to post that the Cowboys and Hardy's agents had agreed to terms.
Here's Mr. Sisemore's concluding thought:
The culture of the Cowboys has been cultivated by head coach Jason Garrett since replacing Wade Phillips in 2010. If Garrett and the rest of the front office would take this leap, it's likely they believe they can handle all of the ramifications. After producing three consecutive double-digit sack seasons, Greg Hardy seems to be exactly what the doctor ordered for a defense that could only produce 28 sacks in 2014.
The always sensible Archer adds his two cents worth...
The Noble Drummond wonders where the Cowboys' two most talented DEs might line up in 2015:
Hardy has shown that while he has experience on the left side, his is much more explosive on the right. Could Dallas and Marinelli look to move Demarcus Lawrence to the left?
It’s a case made even more interesting by the fact that Hardy has been really good at stopping the run his last two full seasons, albeit from the right side. A run stop is when you keep the offense from gaining enough yards to consider a play successful (40% of necessary yardage on first down, 60% of nec. Yardage on second, 100% on third and fourth). Hardy ranked tied for fourth amongst all 4-3 DE’s both in 2013 and 2012.
If there was any doubt this was a delicate PR situation, Jones the Elder released a prepared statement instead of the usual presser. Here's a little of what
he Rich Dalrymple wrote:
"We have spent a great deal of time over the last two days in meeting with Greg directly and gaining a solid understanding of what he is all about as a person and as a football player. A thorough background review of him, involving many elements of our organization, has been ongoing for the last few weeks."
Let the assessments begin!
Archer wonders about Hardy getting the reward that the Cowboys refused to ponyup for DeMarco Murray:
It just further proves that running backs are easier to find, even if Murray had more value to the team beyond his statistics. There are not many pass-rushers on this earth who can fall out of bed and get double-digit sack totals. In his past two full seasons, Hardy has 26. On the field, he makes the Cowboys better.
Moore writes that no one questions that Hardy is an "RKG" on the field. The questions, he notes, are reserved for his off-the-field conduct.
Sturm weighs in, pointing out that one of the key "off-the-field" areas is in the locker room:
If this was a mental decision by the front office to allocate resources to a 15-sack guy over a top RB, I support that thinking. If this was a logic decision to get in Free Agency what you cannot get at #27 in the draft, I also support Hardy over Murray. But, if you care what the room thinks, this might be a lot more risky than you think. I don’t believe the rank and file will enjoy not paying DeMarco and paying a guy with no Dallas ties, an extensive collection of red flags, and simply a 1-year deal.
The contract details:
Here's the one-year deal that Dallas gave to DE Greg Hardy... pic.twitter.com/7fwKhGUJOP— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) March 18, 2015
Archer looks at the contract details and how they will impact the 2015 salary cap. The short answer: not much, for now:
For now, Hardy’s cap figure is roughly $3.2 million because only two weeks of the $9.25 million per-game roster bonuses are considered likely to be earned since he was on the Carolina Panthers’ 53-man roster for two weeks in 2014. As a result the Cowboys did not have to restructure a contract to fit Hardy under the cap...
A long, expert look at what is probably one of the most complex one-year deals in recent memory. A taste:
The roster bonus is the most important part of this contract. Hardy spent all but the first two games of the season on the exempt list, so for salary cap purposes the NFL will only consider 2/16 of Hardy’s roster bonus against the salary cap, a charge of just $1.5 million. This fully protects the Cowboys interests while the NFL decides what to do with Hardy during the season.
For The Estimable Ryle, Stephen Jones devised an innovative solution to a unique situation.
With the signing, a review of Dallas' ownership seems appropriate...
Not much new to report here, although this shows how far their tentacles reach:
NFL committees: Management council executive committee, NFL Network (chair), Pro Football Hall of Fame (chair), broadcasting, health and safety advisory
Along those lines:
The Cowboys have a seat at the table where conduct policy is reviewed and advice from outside experts is vetted. So, you's think they have a clear idea whet they're getting into here...
Toddzilla makes like Broaddus and Sturm and goes to the tape to review a handful of games from our newly-signed LBs portfolio. Here's his verdict:
Good move: At 26, he remains an ascending player. He showed enough in his time as a part-time starter to think he can handle more of a role on defense if necessary. The Cowboys like to cross train their linebackers, and he has good instincts. His history with linebackers coach Matt Eberflus at Missouri and Rich Bisaccia for the Chargers shows the coaches are confident he can do every task.
Petty has been training the last few weeks in San Diego under quarterbacks guru George Whitfield. Whitfield, who was wowed by Petty’s workout:
Whitfield, who has worked with first-round picks the last four years, including Cam Newton, Andrew Luck and Johnny Manziel, said Petty was sharp. "That’s the best-executed pro day that I’ve been a part of, and I’ve been a part of some great ones," Whitfield said. "I’m talking about from mentality to the accuracy to his pace. That was 77 throws in almost 40 minutes."
Speaking of Broaddus, his roster review series continues with a look at the Cowboys' resident waterbug, Dunbar. Broaddus opines on the curious case of Number 25:
2014 Impact: If there was a player I was surprised wasn’t used more in this offensive scheme during the season, it was Lance Dunbar. From what I had seen from the OTA and minicamp practices, it appeared that offensive coordinator Scott Linehan had some specific packages to get him more involved but other than the Tennessee and Seattle games, it was really hit-and-miss on his consistent opportunities. For him to only have 29 carries and 18 receptions on the season is something I’m sure this coaching staff will look back on in their offseason evaluation and say that was not nearly the work that his talent deserved.
Class act, that.