12:32pm: The Bucs have lost interest in Hardy and unless someone else gets involved, it sounds like he’ll be a Cowboy, Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk tweets.
Meanwhile, Jason La Canfora of CBSSports.com (on Twitter) is curious to see what the deal looks like in terms of length, guarantee, and total money. La Canfora hears that Hardy is seeking upwards of $6MM for 2015.
8:19am: After meeting with the Cowboys on Tuesday, agent Drew Rosenhaus says Greg Hardy will decide between signing with them or the Buccaneers tonight, according to Albert Breer of NFL.com (on Twitter). The Seahawks were also in the running for the talented defensive end, but it appears that they have fallen out of the chase.
Hardy, who had 15 sacks in 2013 for the Panthers before missing most of the 2014 season, remains on the commissioner’s exempt list as the league completes its review of his case. Hardy remains eligible to sign a new contract, even on the exempt list. There has yet to be a decision from the NFL on what kind of discipline the 26-year-old will face.
Hardy made the Pro Bowl in 2013 after he compiled a career-high 15 sacks, and Pro Football Focus (subscription required) ranked him as the second-best overall defensive end in the league. He signed a $13.1MM deal for the 2014 season and wound up playing in just one game for that entire campaign.
The Cowboys have both Jeremy Mincey and DeMarcus Lawrence at defensive end but Hardy would obviously give a major boost to Dallas’ defensive line. If he comes aboard, Eatman writes that Hardy would step in at right defensive end, Lawrence would likely switch to the left side, and Mincey would serve as a roving lineman with occasional defensive tackle duties. A rush featuring Hardy and Lawrence would be absolutely terrifying on paper, but Dallas would have to take on the backlash and potential baggage that could come with signing Hardy.
The Bucs lost out on what would have been a huge upgrade to their pass rush when Derrick Morgan opted to stay put with the Titans, but signing Hardy would give them a similar or greater boost in the front seven. After releasing Michael Johnson just one year after inking a five-year, $43.75MM contract, Tampa Bay needs to find a suitable replacement somehow.