One of the best players somewhat flying under the radar in this free agency period is Greg Hardy, who probably is one of the best pass rushers in the NFL, which is going to land him a job with either the Dallas Cowboys or the Seattle Seahawks.
Right now, it seems like Hardy is going to be playing for the Cowboys, and might be on the verge of successfully ending the negotiations with them. The Seahawks and other teams, including the Carolina Panthers, have tried getting on his good side but Hardy, playing just one game in 2014 because of his assault conviction against his partner Nicole Helder. The charges against Hardy were dismissed on February 9, 2015 after the accuser failed to show for court.
Hardy played in just one game last season before agreeing to being put on the exempt list. It didn’t stop him from drawing a salary of $13.1 million from the Carolina Panthers, putting the franchise tag on Hardy after his fantastic 2013 season. Hardy made the Pro Bowl for the first time that year and was also named to the second team All-Pro after finishing with 15 sacks, including four in one game, both franchise records for the Panthers.
Hardy, 26, was only a sixth round pick in the 2010 draft, coming out of Mississippi. He didn’t play much during his rookie season, but became a starter for the Panthers in 2011 and finished with 11 sacks in 2012, establishing himself as a rising defensive force in the league, following that up with a brilliant campaign in 2013, making him one of the most eligible free agents in 2014 before the franchise tag and the legal problems.
Some might think of him as a despicable human being for what happened between him and his former partner, but in the NFL, it’s all about the production level you can bring to the field. If he’s allowed to play, teams are going to sign and play him and Hardy, despite being out for one year, seems to be still good enough to be a meaningful force for a lot of teams.
While on the Seahawks he’s going to be part of a championship group and mentality, he’s likely to get a lot more snaps with the Cowboys, who are in a much bigger bind when it comes to their defensive playmakers. Their defense did step up late last season in a few games including the playoffs, but overall it was still one of the weakest units in the league, shielded by the Cowboys’ ability to eat the clock and run the ball.