NFC Notes: Hardy, JPP, Lee, Lions

Following Friday’s reduction of Greg Hardy‘s suspension, the Cowboys‘ highest-profile offseason addition has several legal options before he begins his season in Dallas, writes Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk.

While the most obvious one is the defensive end accepting the six-game slashing of his ban and suiting up for a Week 5 tilt against the Patriots, Hardy has three different legal avenues, according to Florio. The potential solutions all concede Hardy should miss two games, just as Ray Rice was supposed to when the then-Ravens running back was slapped on the wrist for domestic violence under the league’s former, less-strict policy.

One involves a lawsuit and preliminary injunction, which would push for a two-game ban and go after judge Harold Henderson’s reasoning for assigning four games. Hardy and the NFL Players Association would have to get this matter resolved before the end of Week 2 or run the risk of the ex-Panthers Pro Bowler missing two more contests of greater consequence should the ruling not go down in his favor. Florio adds that should this strategy backfire, this situation could drag on further and potentially force Hardy to miss two games this season and two next season, which would affect the former sixth-round pick’s pursuit of his first noteworthy long-term contract.

Another route Florio offers but doesn’t recommend comes via the NFLPA suing and not seeking a preliminary injunction, meaning Hardy would miss the Cowboys’ first four games and sue to reclaim the two checks he would’ve missed. This method basically serves just Hardy while depriving Dallas of an extra two tilts with its best pass-rusher.

Here’s some other Saturday content from around the NFC.

  • The Cowboys will not move Sean Lee back to the middle linebacker position where he played in 2013, notes Jon Machota of the Dallas Morning News. Machota expects newly acquired Jasper Brinkley to play inside until Rolando McClain returns from his suspension, with the coaching staff preferring to keep Lee on the weak side.
  • Machota also believes La’el Collins would win a tiebreaker of sorts if he and incumbent Ronald Leary play at around the same level during the preaseason. While grading as the team’s worst offensive line starter last year, Leary still managed a positive assessment from Pro Football Focus (subscription required). Machota notes the 27-year-old Leary will have to play much better than Collins to keep his job.
  • Also mired in a complex saga going into his sixth NFL season, Jason Pierre-Paul has several courses of action going into the season, offers Ralph Vacchiano of the New York Daily News. JPP’s already informed the Giants he won’t sign his franchise tender until healthy, which will keep him off the unpaid Non-Football Injury list, but Vacchiano provides two interesting scenarios. One features the Giants’ best pass-pursuer not signing his tender and sitting out the season. While no money would come Pierre-Paul’s way, he’d have the chance to either sign a long-term contract with the Giants (or another team), or sign a franchise tender that figures to be higher than 2015’s $14.813MM defensive end tag. The Giants may be hard-pressed to re-apply a tag if Eli Manning is still unsigned by next March, notes Vacchiano. Of course, it also puts JPP’s ability in question, which would limit the kind of contract the 26-year-old could draw. The other path, and the one Vacchiano expects, is the Giants and JPP renegotiating his tender, lowering his 2015 salary — which is allowable under the CBA — in exchange for a promise not to place him on the NFI list.
  • Pierre-Paul not meeting with the Giants and notifying him of his decisions regarding his badly injured hand aren’t a sign of immaturity, but rather a bit of panic at what was unfolding in his life, Dr. David Chao tells Nick Powell of “If you’re going through this kind of mental anguish, are you going to talk to anyone? Even your friends?” Chao said. “I wasn’t in the room, but I know what players go through. I don’t think he was dissing the Giants; he was just in his own world, and understandably so.”
  • The Lions suddenly have plenty of depth at defensive end, which will create a high-quality competition for the rotation jobs, writes Justin Rogers of Corey Wootton and CFL sack champ Phillip Hunt will push backups Darryl Tapp and Devin Taylor for the top roles behind starters Ezekiel Ansah and Jason Jones. 2014 fourth-rounder Larry Webster also factors into this talented group that lost George Johnson, writes Rogers. A former starter, the 28-year-old Wootton has ability to play inside as well and figures to be a key cog here.
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One comment on “NFC Notes: Hardy, JPP, Lee, Lions

  1. Luke Adams

    I wonder how upset the NFL would actually be with a lawsuit from the NFLPA over the Hardy case. If a court were to decide Hardy’s suspension should be reduced to two games, at least the league could say, “See? We tried to punish him harshly for what he did, but our hands were tied.” (Of course, it was the league’s own outdated policy that created that problem in the first place.)

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