When the 2015 NFL season ended, two things were for certain. One was that the Dallas Cowboys needed to greatly upgrade their pass rush. The other was that the Greg Hardy's off-field problems vastly out-weighed his on-field production. At the time, signing Hardy to an incentive-laden deal looked to be a terrific move. While Hardy did have to serve a four-game suspension, there was a thought that Hardy could come in, keep his head on straight and improve the pass rush and help the younger defensive ends at the same time.
Unfortunately, Hardy was the center of attention and for all the wrong reasons. There were locker room incidents, disrespectful comments, coaching rifts, and, lastly and worse of all, the once-confidential pictures of his ex-girlfriend Nicole Holder were released in a Deadspin article just hours before a football game. Hardy's poor 2015 showing does not mean he's a bad football player, but it does prove that the Cowboys wanted more from the individual rather than just the player.
When free agency began, it was known that the Cowboys were going to look into improving the defensive line. Adding talent is something every teams looks to do in free agency, but the Cowboys lost some pretty good players to other teams as money was the deterrent that held them back. Adrian Clayborn and Chris Long were two targets the Cowboys had serious interest in, but when money came into the equation, the Cowboys ended up losing them to other suitors.
As each free agent signs elsewhere, there has to be some thought, maybe the Cowboys should just bite the bullet once again and hope they get best out of Hardy by signing him again to a one-year, incentive-laden deal. But the recent interest in a new defensive end could prove that the Cowboys are done with Hardy.
It was reported Monday afternoon that the Cowboys would be having Jason Jones, formerly of the Detroit Lions, come in for a visit at Valley Ranch.
The market keeps dwindling and the latest target to take a trip to Dallas is Jones. A 29-year-old who has spent the past few seasons with the Lions as a rotational edge piece, Jones doesn't provide the glamour a signing of Mario Williams would have provided, but he's still a proven piece that can make a difference if put in a role where he can use his strengths. Jones was a nice player in Detroit for his ability to play inside and outside. However, it should be said that he is a marginal starter, high-end rotational piece at best. Hardy is without a doubt more talented, but the interest in yet another is pretty strong evidence that the Cowboys have washed their hands entirely of Hardy, which would be a good thing given how toxic he can be.
With Randy Gregory shelved for the first four games of the season, the Cowboys will need someone who can walk in and start immediately. Drafting Joey Bosa is a real possibility, but there should definitely be doubts about how he will perform if he were step on the field as a starter in the first professional game of his career.
Dallas has been looking to get production out of contracts that have been on the cheaper end of the spectrum. Signing Jones is a bit similar to Jeremy Mincey and what the Cowboys got out of him. Benson Mayowa and Ryan Russell will take on bigger roles in the 2016 season. But as a guy who can provide the bridge to both of those young pass rushers, Jones seems to make sense.