The Dallas Cowboys and defensive end Greg Hardy entered into a business arrangement this offseason. The Cowboys chose to ignore a lot of red flags because they needed his talent for their defense.
The problem is that Hardy has been a huge disruption, so much that you wonder if the Cowboys are having buyer’s remorse. They haven’t admitted that publicly, and in fact they’ve gone out of their way to do the opposite. Why they keep trying to pitch Hardy being around as anything but “he rushes the passer well, period” is beyond me. As Charles Robinson pointed out in his column on Monday, Jerry Jones and Co. enabling Hardy by making excuses for his behavior and lauding him as a team leader (oh my) is just insulting to everyone. We all know why Hardy is there. It’s not because he’s a leader or brings anything other than a pass rush to the team.
And because Hardy is a good pass rusher (he has lived up to that part of the arrangement, for sure), the Cowboys continue to excuse things. Like Hardy showing up late for a practice and basically going AWOL last Thursday, to the point where the Cowboys were concerned and couldn’t get a hold of him when he wasn’t at work. NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport reported on the story. The Cowboys even covered for him by listing him as not practicing last Thursday with an illness.
Now, perhaps there was an illness involved, but it certainly seems like the Cowboys just covered for him with some fudging on the injury report. Just like they excused his sideline blowups on Sunday, which prompted the “No comment, next question” ridiculousness to every question by the media afterward. Just like the Cowboys said they wouldn’t punish Hardy over what happened on the sideline Sunday.
The Cowboys made their deal with their collective conscience this offseason when they signed Hardy. They needed a pass rusher, so, welp. What’s done is done there. The angle that is becoming interesting is what will happen with Hardy after this season. Hardy is on a one-year deal. He’s 27 and can rush the quarterback, which makes him quite valuable in the NFL. But teams are watching what’s happening. Between the domestic violence case in his past and the constant headaches in just a few games with the Cowboys since his suspension ended, what will the market be like for him next offseason?
Hardy hitting free agency assumes the Cowboys won’t blindly bring him back next season. Who knows, they might. They certainly like making excuses for him, even when he doesn’t show up to work and they can’t get a hold of him. And, yep, he can rush the quarterback.
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