East Notes: Hardy, Fins, D. Lewis

Greg Hardy is set to make his Cowboys debut today, though it will not come without some extra controversy. On Tuesday, in his first media session since he signed a one-year deal with Dallas this offseason, Hardy made some bizarre and ill-timed comments regarding Tom Brady‘s wife and returning to the field with “guns blazin,'” and a rap video heavy on strippers and guns–which Hardy made during his suspension–surfaced just yesterday. The NFL’s first vice president of social responsibility, Anna Isaacson, recently issued the following statement:

“I couldn’t disagree more with Greg Hardy’s comments, and they do not reflect the values of the league. We are working hard to bring attention to the positive role models many other players represent and also to continue our education with all members of the NFL family.”

As the early Week 5 games approach, let’s take a quick swing around the league’s east divisions, including more notes on Hardy:

  • Cowboys head coach Jason Garrett reportedly admonished Hardy for his comments, but on Friday, owner Jerry Jones took to the airwaves to defend his player. In so doing, says Rick Gosselin of The Dallas Morning News, Jones undermined his head coach and further enabled the apparently oblivious Hardy.
  • In a bit of Twitter repartee this morning, ESPN’s Ed Werder and former Packers executive Andrew Brandt discussed the Hardy signing. Brandt points out that, in normal circumstances, Hardy would have generated interest from 12-15 clubs, but given his impending suspension, only one or two teams were interested. Werder says that, had teams known Hardy would have agreed to the team-friendly terms that the Cowboys offered him, there would have been at least 15 clubs in the running. The lack of interest, Werder says, was not based upon morality.
  • The Dolphins might have just fired Joe Philbin, but it was not that long ago that owner Stephen Ross was determined that Philbin would lead his club for the foreseeable future. Per Jason La Canfora of CBS Sports, Miami vice president of football operations Mike Tannenbaum pushed Ross to at least pursue Dan Quinn, who was ultimately hired by the Falcons, but Ross would have none of it, and the Dolphins never even made an effort to contact Quinn.
  • Whether or not the Dolphins are able to land Sean Payton in the offseason–and all indications are that Payton will remain in New OrleansJames Walker of ESPN.com says the interest in Payton makes it clear that Miami will be seeking an experienced head coach at season’s end.
  • Ben Volin of The Boston Globe explores why the Patriots, who rarely invest in running backs, recently signed Dion Lewis to a contract extension through 2017 after just three games. As Volin points out, the Pats got tremendous value out of the deal, as Lewis has no guaranteed money for 2016 or 2017, and his cap number for 2017 will be the second-lowest among all starting running backs. New England is privately shocked that Lewis accepted a deal so far below market value.
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