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Greg Hardy Addition Boosts Cowboys Super Bowl 50 Odds
The biggest free-agent left on the NFL market was former Carolina Panthers defensive end Greg Hardy, and he's now off the market after signing a one-year, $11.3 million contract with the Dallas Cowboys, with incentives that could push it to $13 million. Hardy is a fabulous player and should be a difference-maker. Sportsbook.ag even shortened the Cowboys' Super Bowl odds from +1800, which they were one week ago after Dallas lost star running back DeMarco Murray, to +1600.
Waiting On NFL
However, don't get too excited yet Cowboys fans, because Hardy is going to face a multiple-game suspension. Hardy had 15 sacks and 59 tackles in 2013 for a Carolina defense that was better than anyone's in the NFL other than Super Bowl champion Seattle. That led the Panthers to slap the franchise tag on Hardy for last season. He would play in only one game because of an ugly off-field incident.
On May 13 of last year, he was arrested and charged with assaulting and threatening to kill his ex-girlfriend, Nicole Holder. She told police that Hardy, in a jealous rage, threw her into a bathtub, pulled her out by her hair then threw her onto a futon covered with semi-automatic weapons that Hardy told her were loaded. She stated at one point that the hulking defensive end put his hands around her throat.
A Mecklenburg (North Carolina) County judge found Hardy guilty on July 15. The verdict was set aside when Hardy requested a jury trial, but the Panthers weren't about to go through the PR nightmare of keeping Hardy active to he was placed on the commissioner exempt list, meaning he still got paid his full $13.1 million salary. So he hasn't actually been disciplined by the league yet but that looming punishment and the bad PR are why Hardy was still on the market despite his obvious talent.
Jones Risking Bad PR
Cowboys owner Jerry Jones said in a statement that the team spent "a great deal of time" meeting with Hardy and reviewing his situation. "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," Jones said. "We know that Greg's status remains under review by the National Football League."
An NFL spokesman said that Hardy's situation remains under review and the league will have a resolution on his status as soon as possible. With the commissioner having egg on his face from the Ray Rice fiasco, he's not going light on Hardy.
In a way, it's a smart risk for Dallas. None of Hardy's money is guaranteed. He had a clause inserted stating the club can't use the franchise or transition tag on him next season, making him a free agent again in 2016. Hardy's salary cap hit is likely to be in the range of $2.5 million for the club this season. The Cowboys had to do something to improve their pass rush after having just 28 sacks last year.
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