Update On Greg Hardy’s Contract

Greg Hardy‘s one-year contract with the Cowboys is more than a little complicated — while it contains a base salary of just $750K, the deal also has $9.25MM in per-game roster bonuses, money that Hardy would only see for each game he’s active. Additionally, Hardy was entitled to a $1.31MM workout bonus, and could earn another $1.8MM via incentives.

Hardy has already earned that workout bonus, which, as Jason Fitzgerald of Over the Cap explained earlier this year, acted as something of a signing bonus. Following a four-game suspension, Hardy has played in four contests, meaning he’s taken home about $176K in base salary and and roughly $2.312MM in roster bonuses. The incentives had remained a mystery until now, as a source tells Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk that Hardy was scheduled to earn $500K for eight sacks, $1MM for 10, $1.4MM for 12, and the full $1.8MM for 14. Hardy already has four sacks through four games, so if he were to continue this pace, Dallas would end up paying the $1.4MM bonus.

Some (including myself) have theorized that with the Cowboy stumbling through something of a lost season, they could cut Hardy now, not only ridding themselves of an off-the-field headache, but saving themselves a decent chunk of money in the process. Unless the club seriously plans to re-sign Hardy after the season (which seems increasingly unlikely given his behavior), there doesn’t seem to be a good reason to keep him on the roster.

In Florio’s piece, he writes that Hardy’s sack-based incentive is the “only…aspect of compensation [that] hinges on Hardy being on the roster through the end of the regular season,” arguing that the Cowboys wouldn’t save that much money by cutting Hardy. Based on my reading of the contract, that’s not the case. If Hardy were to be waived tonight, for example, Dallas would would be off the hook for not only the $1.4MM in incentives, but also $4.625MM in per-game roster bonuses (eight remaining games multiplied by $578,125).

In total, the Cowboys could save $6.025MM of a contract which had a maximum value of about $11.3MM — not exactly chump change. Even if one disregards or overlooks the moral case for waiving Hardy, the financial ramifications are clear: Dallas would clear out ample cap space by cutting Hardy in the coming weeks, especially before he begins reaching his incentives.

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6 comments on “Update On Greg Hardy’s Contract

  1. GeauxRangers

    Cowboys aren’t completely out of the division race yet although they are close. Romo is coming back next week I think. Maybe cutting him becomes an option once we are completely eliminated from the playoffs

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    • GeauxRangers

      There are also other reasons to keep in like 1st rights at resigning him and compensatory draft picks if he does leave

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      • dresman92

        Can only get draft pick if he is given franchise tag. Cowboys made an agree not to tag him after the season.

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        • Dallas Robinson

          Based on the NFL’s free agent system, the Cowboys actually can get a comp pick without handing him the franchise tag. Still, that’s taking a risk that no other evidence surfaces, or that Hardy doesn’t get into more trouble between now and next spring. If that happens, no one will sign him and Dallas will get nothing, anyway.

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  2. Jerrah is not going to dump Hardy and I support that position.
    Interesting that people can never seem to understand facts and then over react to pictures. We normally do not know all of the facts or circumstances and we give this responsibility to the legal system. That system has concluded in a decision with all interested parties involved having the opportunity to express their concerns and present their evidence including the person most affected. Failure to be present or pursue charges the Court dismissed the case and has legally expunged the charges as required by law. We do not know all of the circumstances of that incident and at this point is irrelevant. Hardy is a free man and has paid his controversial NFL obligation and has the right to continue his employment without undue harassment. Should another incident happen with Hardy it should be examined on its own merits. Hardy has a second chance and needs to make the most of it as it as it would be for you!

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  3. While it’s been widely reported Hardy was “convicted” of domestic assault and communicating threats to his one-time girlfriend in a bench trial conducted by Mecklenburg County District Court Judge Becky Thorne Tin back in July 2014, this a legal process where defense attorneys are not allowed to question evidence, witnesses or the victim. Judge Tin, after an exhaustive 10-hour court session, solely sentenced Hardy to a 60-day suspended jail sentence and 18 months of probation. His offense was classified as a “misdemeanor.” For comparison, misdemeanors, among other things, include public intoxication, possession of marijuana and theft, like if you run out of a department store with underwear you didn’t pay for. Seemingly a stern paddling compared to this recent outcry. Under North Carolina law, appealing such a ruling from a “bench” trial grants you the right to a jury trial. Hardy’s attorney appealed rather than accept the 18 months of probation, which, in essence would have been an admission of guilt. The trial was scheduled for November and then pushed back until Feb. 9. In turn, the NFL, in no-man’s land and on the heels of the Ray Rice fiasco, decided to remain in limbo, placing Hardy on what we’ve since learned even existed, the commissioner’s exempt list, the second week of the season. While he was paid his weekly sum for having signed the $13 million franchise tag, he never played again after the season opener. And sometime in between then and Feb. 9, Hardy and his ex-girlfriend, Nicole Holder, came to a civil settlement. The prosecutors informed Superior Court Judge Robert Sumner on the Feb. 9 day of the trial that Holder evidently accepted an undetermined amount of money not to pursue the case, and subsequently had quit cooperating with the DA’s office. They also informed the judge that day they could not locate Holder after an extensive search and would not proceed prosecuting the case. In minutes, the judge dismissed the case, meaning the previous misdemeanor conviction was vacated, legally exonerating Hardy though not implying he was innocent. This, though, is an interesting passage in The Charlotte Observer from Feb. 9, 2015, and then updated on the 15th, sort of a legal lesson for all of us: Victims and witnesses routinely stop cooperating in domestic-abuse cases and prosecutors still take the cases to court. (DA Andrew) Murray, though, said the Hardy case was different. He also appeared to raise doubts about Holder’s credibility in a statement to the judge … and only recently had (prosecutors) compared what Holder told police the night of the alleged assault with her testimony at Hardy’s first trial. Notice, The Observer used a journalism school term, alleged, one of the first words we were taught in News-Ed 101, for real. Then there was this passage: Several legal experts around town speculated that prosecutors spotted inconsistencies that prevented them from building their case around Holder’s former accounts. To enter an unavailable witness’s prior testimony and statements as evidence, prosecutors have “to vouch” for its truthfulness, said Charlotte defense attorney George Laughrun.
    Interesting that people can never seem to understand facts and then over react to pictures. We normally do not know all of the facts or circumstances and we give this responsibility to the legal system. That system has concluded in a decision with all interested parties involved having the opportunity to express their concerns and present their evidence including the person most affected. Failure to be present or pursue charges the Court dismissed the case and has legally expunged the charges as required by law. We do not know all of the circumstances of that incident and at this point is irrelevant. Hardy is a free man and has paid his controversial NFL obligation and has the right to continue his employment without undue harassment. Should another incident happen with Hardy it should be examined on its own merits. Hardy has a second chance and needs to make the most of it as it as it would be for you!

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