Having not seriously engaged in talks with defensive end Greg Hardy since his contract expired last month, the Cowboys have long appeared unlikely to re-sign him. Tonight, owner Jerry Jones formally confirmed that Hardy won’t be back, telling reporters – including ESPN’s Todd Archer – that door is officially closed.
The Cowboys are looking thin at defensive end, and are in need of pass-rushing help, with Demarcus Lawrence and Randy Gregory facing four-game suspensions and Jeremy Mincey no longer under contract. The club also didn’t use any of its first three 2016 draft picks to select an outside pass rusher.
Hardy would certainly qualify as an upgrade for the Cowboys on the field — the former Panther had another solid season as a pass rusher in 2015, recording six sacks, a forced fumble, and an interception in 12 games. He wasn’t quite as dominant as he was during his best years in Carolina, but Hardy ranked as the league’s 28th-best edge defender, out of 110 qualified players, according to Pro Football Focus.
However, Hardy’s off-field history and his behavior during his lone season in Dallas didn’t particularly endear him to the Cowboys as the season wore on. When taking into account his questionable in-season decisions, both on and off the field, as well as his alleged domestic violence history, it makes sense that the Cowboys would consider Hardy to be too much of a liability – or at least a distraction – to invest in going forward.
Here are a few more notes from out of Dallas:
- Jerry Jones said today that he doesn’t think it’s mandatory that the Cowboys select a quarterback on the final day of the draft. The team had interest in trading up for Paxton Lynch on Thursday, but Jones says he’s comfortable with Kellen Moore as Tony Romo‘s backup (Twitter link via David Moore of the Dallas Morning News).
- A source tells Clarence Hill of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram (Twitter link) that the Cowboys feel better about Jaylon Smith‘s medicals than they did about Myles Jack‘s. That’s not a big surprise, since Dallas selected Smith with Jack still on the board. Even if Smith misses the entire 2016 season, as is expected, there’s a perception that his knee condition will improve, while Jack’s could deteriorate.
- While Smith will likely miss all of 2016, Jerry Jones cautioned not to count out the former Notre Dame linebacker just yet, tweets Archer.