6:20pm: Cowboys owner Jerry Jones addressed the signing in a statement (via NFL.com’s Albert Breer on Twitter):
“This agreement involved an important element of our defensive scheme, specifically the pass rush, at a position that we felt we needed to address this off season. We entered this free agency period with the idea of utilizing key resources to help us on the defensive side of the ball.
“Greg is a proven and experienced player whose production has allowed him to play at a Pro Bowl level. This is a one-year agreement that is incentive based and heavily weighted toward his participation in games.
“We have spent a great deal of time over the last two days in meeting with Greg directly and gaining a solid understanding of what he is all about as a person and as a football player. A thorough background review of him, involving many elements of our organization, has been ongoing for the last few weeks.
“Obviously a great deal of our study was dedicated to the issue of domestic violence, and the recent events that associated Greg with that issue. We know that Greg’s status remains under review by the National Football League.
“Our organization understands the very serious nature of domestic violence in our society and in our league. We know that Greg has a firm understanding of those issues as well.”
3:00pm: Pro Football Talk has the specific breakdown of the contract, tweeting that Hardy gets a $750K base salary, a $1.3116MM workout bonus, $9.25MM in per-game roster bonuses, and $1.8044MM in sack-based incentives. The Cowboys also won’t be allowed to designate him as their franchise or transition player next season (Twitter link).
Hardy’s 2014 salary, for the record, was $13.116MM, which is the exact same amount this year’s deal can be worth if he maxes it out.
Schefter has the specific details on how Hardy can earn those sack-based incentives (Twitter link).
2:54pm: The agreement has now been confirmed by the Cowboys’ official site, with the announcement noting that Hardy is “widely expected” to be suspended by the NFL for four to six games. Meanwhile, Schefter (Twitter link) suggests that, despite the minimum salary, the deal has a base value of $11.3MM, suggesting there are significant bonuses involved.
Todd Archer of ESPN.com tweets that there’s no guaranteed money on the deal, so I expect a good chunk of that bonus money probably come in the form of per-game roster bonuses — since Hardy only appeared in one game last season, most of those bonuses wouldn’t count against the cap at this point.
2:43pm: Hardy has agreed to terms with the Cowboys, Pro Football Talk confirms (via Twitter). It’s a one-year deal with a minimum base salary, but it can be worth up to $13.1MM, which is the amount Hardy earned a year ago on the franchise tag (Twitter link).
2:05pm: The structure of the contract seems to be the hang-up in the Cowboys’ discussions with Hardy, but both sides remain confident that a deal will be finalized, tweets Albert Breer of the NFL Network.
1:44pm: Both sides say there’s no deal yet, but it’s hard to see how a deal won’t get done at this point, according to Adam Schefter of ESPN.com (on Twitter).
Meanwhile, Bucs GM Jason Licht spoke to Rick Stroud of the Tampa Bay Times (on Twitter) about his decision not to pursue Hardy. “At the end of the day, we didn’t feel good about it,” Licht said.
1:36pm: Greg Hardy has agreed to sign with the Cowboys, according to Dianna Marie Russini of NBC 4 (on Twitter). Hardy was said to have narrowed things down to the Cowboys and the Buccaneers on Wednesday and Dallas became the clear leader once the Bucs no longer were showing interest.
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 represents a major boost to Dallas’ defensive line. Now, Hardy will likely take over right defensive end with Lawrence on the left side, leaving Mincey to serve as a roving lineman with occasional defensive tackle duties. A rush featuring Hardy and Lawrence is absolutely terrifying on paper, but Dallas will have to take on the backlash and potential baggage that will come with signing Hardy.