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Dallas Cowboys News & Notes: Cowboys With Most Interesting Defense After Hardy's Reduced Suspension?

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Suspension of Greg Hardy of Dallas Cowboys reduced to four games - Todd Archer, ESPN Dallas
Following Hardy's appeal, arbitrator Harold Henderson reduced Hardy's suspension from 10 games to four. Why? Here's Henderson's statement.

"Ten games is simply too much, in my view, of an increase over prior cases without notice such as was done last year, when the 'baseline' for discipline in domestic violence or sexual assault cases was announced as a six-game suspension."

Cowboys DE Greg Hardy's suspension reduced to 4 games, but dispute might not be over | David Moore, Dallas Morning News
Hardy and his representatives might still challenge the suspension for a further reduction.

Hardy and his representatives previously have indicated they will challenge any suspension beyond two games, the punishment outlined by the league at the time of the incident before it was amended.

Hardy's agent, Drew Rosenhaus, said the plan is to discuss the next move with Hardy, his lawyers and the NFLPA. They are still considering further legal action.

Dallas Cowboys, Greg Hardy in best possible position after appeal - Todd Archer, ESPN
Greg Hardy's reduced suspension could change the complexion of the Dallas defense -- and the dynamic of the entire team, Todd Archer argues.

He gives the Cowboys something they don’t have: a true pass-rushing threat. Jeremy Mincey might have led the Cowboys with six sacks last year, but he doesn’t create a mismatch like Hardy. They like the potential of DeMarcus Lawrence and rookie Randy Gregory, but they have yet to prove what they can do at this level.

Having their best pass-rusher (Hardy) and their most productive defender in 2014 (McClain) return would be a boost to a defense that was respectable last season despite being patchwork. Add that to Sean Lee's return from a knee injury that cost him the 2014 season and it can change the dynamic of the Cowboys.

Cowboys have most interesting defense in NFL - NFL.com
With Greg Hardy's reduced suspension and a plethora of personalities in Dallas, the Cowboys' defense is now primed for an intriguing season, Conor Orr writes.

This could all turn out to be an incredible stroke of luck for an owner that smells a Lombardi Trophy. We've recently noted how Jones' moves this offseason leave no room for interpretation. Either way, there's no doubt that all eyes will be on Dallas, and Jones wouldn't have it any other way.

Mapping out Greg Hardy's cap status with Dallas Cowboys - Todd Archer, ESPN Dallas
Archer looks at what the reduced suspension means for the Cowboys' salary cap.

But based on what we know now, the maximum cap figure this year will be $10.626 million if he hits on all of his incentives. If he doesn't hit any incentives, he would count $8.822 million against the cap in total.

Hardy has already collected $1.311 million in a workout bonus. His $750,000 base salary will be roughly $573.521 this year if he misses four games. If he is on the 53-man roster for 12 games, he will earn $6,937,500 in roster bonuses. He can earn up to $1.804 million through incentives if he gets 14 or more sacks. He can earn $500,000 with eight sacks, $1 million for 10 sacks and $1.4 million for 12 sacks.

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Three thoughts: Hardy's reduced suspension shows lack of consistency - SI.com
The reduction in Greg Hardy's suspension further exemplifies the NFL lack consistency, Chris Burke explains.

But this is part of why the NFL continues to come off as rudderless when it comes to disciplining its own—there is minimal rhyme or reason to how these appeals will play out, let alone what approach Goodell (or his appointed stand-in, as Troy Vincent was for the Tom Brady hearing) will take when handing down rulings. Unfortunately, this is par for the course.

Is Hardy’s reduced suspension good news for Brady? | ProFootballTalk
It's only a question of time until Tom Brady's appeal results in a reduced suspension, at which point it will be five successive suspension that Goodell has been overruled on. At this point, that makes him little more than a clown throwing temper tantrums, and PFT wonders whether he is unfit to be the commissioner any longer.

Goodell has now had four straight high-profile disciplinary decisions (the 2012 bounty scandal, Ray Rice’s indefinite suspension, Adrian Peterson’s suspension, and Greg Hardy’s suspension) overturned by a higher authority. And no one has ever suggested that this chronic inability to make appropriate decisions renders him in any way unfit for the job he holds.

Henderson ignores new/old Personal Conduct Policy distinction in Hardy ruling | ProFootballTalk
Florio sorts out the legalese and summarizes this convoluted attempt to save Goodell's job as follows:

Everyone knows the policy changed last year, sparked by the application of the standard penalty of two games to Ray Rice and exacerbated by the release of a video that gave the NFL a chance to see what it already knew happened in that Atlantic City elevator. In an effort to put out the P.R. brushfire, the NFL first increased the penalties under the policy in August (after the reaction to the two-game suspension) and then instituted a new policy in December (after the far more intense reaction to the video).

Of course there’s a new policy; Henderson’s failure to acknowledge that comes off as obtuse. Then again, if he’d acknowledged the policy had changed, he would have been required to analyze the case solely in reference to the penalties implemented under the old policy.

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Report: NFLPA looking into possible collusion between Cowboys, Broncos | Dallas Morning News
The NFLPA is reportedly looking into possible collusion between the Cowboys and Broncos regarding the contracts of Dez Bryant and Demaryius Thomas, believing the two teams had contact although the CBA does not allow such contact. Of course, both players share the same agent, so at least one party is privy to what all parties involved are thinking.

Machota: Cowboys were first NFL team to get on board with using virtual reality. Entire league could do the same by next year | Dallas Morning News
Machota writes that the phone of the founder of the company that sold the Cowboys their virtual reality equipment didn't stop ringing for a week after news broke that Dallas was on board.

Derek Belch, the founder of STRIVR Labs, is a former Stanford kicker and an assistant coach with the Cardinal football team. Stanford had success using the state-of-the-art technology last season, so Belch brought it to this year’s NFL scouting combine in Indianapolis. The Cowboys were the first NFL team to jump on board.

"It’s huge," Belch said. "They’re obviously very respected, not only in the NFL but they’re an international brand. The fact that they were the first, it’s such a big deal. For us, that was reflected when the news first broke a few weeks ago. My phone didn’t stop ringing for a week. I had 300 emails in two days."

McFadden "Coming Along Great" in Dallas | Scott Crisp, NBC 5 Dallas-Fort Worth
Darren McFadden says the transition to Dallas is coming along nicely.

"It’s different for me, just being around in the league I’ve seen people come and go and join different teams but like you said, this year I’m going on my eighth season, my first with the Cowboys and I’m definitely looking forward to coming in, getting acclimated with all the guys and getting adjusted to the offense," McFadden told the Cowboys official website. "It’s something different to me but I’m taking it in stride and coming along great with it."

Terrance Williams explains why he’s so serious at Cowboys practice | Michael Florek, Dallas Morning News
Football can be a serious business.

"It’s kind of nerve racking going to the huddle and having Tony (Romo), Dez (Bryant) and (Jason) Witten," Williams said. "I’ve been around them for three years now. … When you watch them from their demeanor, it’s kind of one of those things there’s a time when you can have a great time and there’s a time when there’s people that’s counting on you and there’s a reason why you’re out there. So whenever I’m around them, I’m serious because I’m so focused on getting the job done."

Website's analytics say Cowboys have NFL's best fans | Dallas Morning News
If you're reading this, there's a good chance you are one of the best fans in the NFL. Because Cowboys fans, according to Emory Sports Marketing Analytics' 2015 NFL fan equity rankings, are the league's best.

This year, it's the Cowboys, followed by the Patriots, Giants, Ravens and Jets. The Cowboys have a storied history, a market that loves all forms of football, and a world-class stadium.

Giants fans are ranked third overall, Eagles fans are ranked 11th, and those poor souls in Washington come in 15th.

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