It was a given that this would happen. The NFLPA is not fighting this issue specifically to help Greg Hardy, but to protect all the players in the league from what has been arbitrary and even capricious decisions made by Roger Goodell and company.
Goodell stated in his view, the length of the (ten game) suspension was appropriate under any version of the personal conduct policy or its predecessors.
The NFLPA's appeal is expected to focus on this point.
This is, quite simply, nonsensical crap from the commissioner. The NFL was not levying these kinds of punishments until they were embarrassed in the Ray Rice case, and now it is trying to use Hardy as a showcase to prove how righteous the league has become. It is trying to retroactively apply the new policies to an old case, and completely ignore players' rights under the CBA. While Hardy may deserve a harsh punishment, retroactive application of a policy is a problem under contract law, and the NFLPA is rightly calling Goodell on this.
If Goodell wants to show how the new policy works, he may have a legitimate chance to do so. In all the recent excitement, we pretty much forgot about Joseph Randle and his Kansas troubles. Those chickens are looking for a roosting place.
In mid-February, Wichita police presented evidence in their case against Randle to Sedgwick County district attorney Marc Bennett. No charges were filed at the time, and the district attorney's office requested additional information in the case.
If charges are filed, Randle could be subjected to a six-game suspension for a first-time offense under the NFL's toughened personal conduct policy.
While we are on the topic of league policy, this is a good move by the league. Funny that they only did it after the Cowboys got to suffer the consequences. Why, if you were a somewhat paranoid Dallas fan, you might look at that and the several teams getting extra days of rest before playing the Cowboys this year, and think that some evil figure was influencing the schedule to make it harder on America's Team. And it is possible soneone did a little table pounding about this.
Perhaps the Cowboys lobbied for this behind closed doors but they never talked about it publicly and coach Jason Garrett also made sure to say it was not used an excuse. It should be noted that Cowboys executive vice president Stephen Jones is on the NFL's competition committee.
Now onto the big topic for the week: The draft, which is less than 72 hours away as you read this.
This is a theory that has been long supported here at BTB.
So, by my count, 27 trades that involve "Top 100″ picks over the 21 drafts by Jerry Jones. If nothing else, you should never leave your television set during draft coverage, because as the cliche tell us, he can't sit still in that war room.
The guys who put the big draft shows on are stopping their own employees from undercutting the on-screen drama. But don't expect that to work 100% in the new age of social media.
The NFL will not allow any NFL network or ESPN reporter to report the draft picks before they air them on television. However reporters like Jay Glazer and BSO reporters do not have to abide by those rules.
Here's a couple of mock drafts, one for the Cowboys and one for the entire league.
Machota has the team taking Jay Ajayi in the second, which would lead to some lively discussions around here.
This mock has the Cowboys taking LB Eric Kendricks in the first, which could be a viable option.
And here are a couple of "big board" looks, with one from a Cowboys-centered point of view, and one from the overall perspective.
As both a former scout and someone who talks daily to staff at Valley Ranch, Bryan Broaddus' take is always worth considering. One thing that jumped out is that he has both Tevin Coleman and Duke Johnson ahead of Melvin Gordon. That kind of makes you go "Hmmm".
This one has both Alvin Dupree, at 24, and Melvin Gordon, at 25, tantalizingly close to Dallas' spot.
This is a bit of courage from Sturm in showing his board from last year. He had Johnny Manziel as his #5 player. Ouch.
This is sad. Shane Ray, who was being looked at as a possible top 10 pick, got busted for misdemeanor marijuana possession. It could wind up costing him millions.
Randy Gregory is another player whose issues with drug usage might cause him to slide a lot, but this may turn into an opportunity for the Cowboys.
It would be the ultimate value pick for a team such as the Cowboys, who are in dire need of a pass rushing-talent such as Gregory. However, Gregory has the baggage of being considered a character risk because of a failed drug test at the NFL Combine and some unfortunate interviews.
This is not a road untraveled for the Cowboys, who struck it big in 2010 when Pro Bowl receiver Dez Bryant fell to them at 24 because of character concerns.
Meanwhile, hopes that Dallas might snag the man considered the best running back in the draft are fading. However, this looks to be another case of the media catching up to how the teams have always thought about Todd Gurley, rather than a change in the actual perceptions of the various teams.
This is a great read about the whole issue of whether the idea of a rookie quarterback should be forced to start right away or not. And this comment on why some teams overvalue quarterbacks is just brilliant.
The NFL Combine has the atmosphere of happy-hour and the NFL Draft feels like the bar an hour before closing time with quarterbacks as the target for that potential hook-up. Any quarterback with the pulse of projectable dimensions, athleticism, and flashes of talent are objects of affection pursued with desperation.
When I shared this analogy with Sigmund Bloom he added, "And the blood-alcohol content is inversely proportional to the team's winning percentage." (In other words, the Terrelle Pryor Beer Goggles Effect)
And this piece is also something you should digest before the draft. It delves into why some teams will pass on a player that others will draft, and why missing these flaws leads to busts. The concluding paragraph sums it up nicely.
Fatal flaws can be obvious or they can be latent. The ones that are concealed and hard to see are the ones that separate the great scouts from the pretty good. Anyone can look at a prospect like Dante Fowler and see overwhelming athleticism. It takes a real scout to go, "Yeah, he's athletic, but why does he seem to get blocked so easily? Is there a fatal flaw there?"
Of note is a chart that was added after this article was originally published that looks at the yards after contact for running backs in 2014. It is of note that DeMarco Murray was the 18th ranked among all backs. That says something about the real root of the success of the Cowboys' running game, does it not?