Cowboys (2-7): Greg Hardy Nearly Pointless


With playoff chances dwindling by the day, a one-year player like Greg Hardy has no place on the Cowboys.

This isn’t about the specifics of the Greg Hardy domestic abuse case. This isn’t about the facts, the victim payoff, or the expunged record either. This is about getting better for next season. The distraction that Greg Hardy brings to the team and the negative impact he makes with his already-volatile teammates are far exceeding his production on the field and make the Cowboys’ biggest free agent signing – expendable.

By dropping the seventh game in row, the Cowboys have almost ensured they will be left out of the playoffs this winter. Now is the time to shake things up, recreate the culture, and treat the remainder of the schedule as practice for 2016.

The very talented Greg Hardy is currently playing on a one year contract with the Dallas Cowboys. His 1 year/ $11,311,600 contract comes with a $573,529 base salary and weekly game bonuses that pay $578,125 for every game he’s active. He has a workout bonus of $1.3116M and sack bonuses that start to pay out at eight sacks and can pay up to $1,804,400M (all numbers courtesy of Sportrac).

Greg Hardy may be worth the risk for a Super Bowl contender but he’s not worth it for a 2-7 team teetering on the brink of elimination.

The team-friendly contract is structured in a way that pays Hardy primarily on game-to-game basis.  As a result of this, the Cowboys can cut Hardy at any point and not feel the pain of paying guaranteed salary and consequently absorbing dead money.

Greg Hardy was initially available to the Cowboys this offseason for multiple reasons:

The biggest of which is his well-documented domestic violence situation when playing for the Carolina Panthers. But in addition to his legal troubles, Hardy has built a negative locker room reputation for himself as well. Combine the negative locker room impression, the the volatile personality, the absolutely terrible PR, and you have a guy that very few teams want.

The Cowboys saw glimpses of this in the few games he’s been with Dallas. Questionable interactions with the media, fiery arguments with teammates, and sideline blowups with players and coaches have done little to endear Hardy to Cowboys Nation.

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In a season that’s nearly lost, keeping a player like Hardy holds little advantage unless Jerry Jones really does intend on re-signing the highly-troubled former Pro Bowler. Statements made by Jones, in the wake of his publicly released domestic violence photos, indicate Hardy is indeed in the Cowboys’ long-term plans.

But with less production on the field, more problems in the locker room, and dwindling postseason hopes, Hardy may be more trouble than worth.

The season isn’t over for the Cowboys. They still play in a very winnable division and without a truly dominant NFC team this season, the Cowboys could make some major damage in the postseason. The odds are significantly against them as they face an undefeated Panthers team, and cold-weather away games in Green Bay and Buffalo, but they still have a chance if QB Tony Romo can run the table upon his return.

Cutting Hardy isn’t about giving up but rather investing in the future. The Cowboys appear to be maxed out in dominant locker room personalities and they have young, somewhat troubled, and impressionable players like Randy Gregory and David Irving seeing exactly what good sack numbers can buy a guy.

Next: Jason Garrett Should be Fired

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It doesn’t have to happen today and it doesn’t have to happen next week, but it’s a move that likely has to happen. Greg Hardy may be worth the risk for a Super Bowl contender but he’s not worth it for a 2-7 team teetering on the brink of elimination.