NFL

NFL AM: Should The Jaguars Or Anyone Sign Greg Hardy?

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Professional sports and big time college sports are bottom line businesses.  Winning has always been the ultimate determining factor on if jobs are gained and kept, with little regard for anything else.

You know the disgusting off the field history of free agent defensive end Greg Hardy.

Despite his brutal domestic violence conviction, he was given a chance to play in 2015 (worth nearly eight figures).

Why?  

Because he has as much of a history of abusing quarterbacks as he does women.

Hardy’s 2015 season with the Dallas Cowboys was a bust.  He totaled six sacks in 12 games and was a major distraction in the locker room.  This caused the Cowboys to let him search for employment elsewhere this spring, and he hasn’t found said employment to date.

“I have approached the team about Greg after the season but I’m not going to divulge their business,” Hardy’s agent Drew Rosenhaus stressed. “Jerry (Jones) said there hasn’t been discussion, so I’m not really saying anything about it.”

The Cowboys owner weighed in.

“I’m reminded time and time again. No matter how great the player. If they haven’t played for a season, it’s impossible for them to come back and play at the level that they may have played prior to that. That alone is dreaming,” Jones stressed. “You don’t lay off for year or a year and half. Even though you are a great player, you just lose something in getting back when you are laid off.”

While talented defensive players such as Von Miller, Malik Jackson and Olivier Vernon received huge money deals this offseason, Hardy’s phone has been as silent as the class geek waiting for the prom queen to call.

That status changed a bit last week when the Jacksonville Jaguars reportedly worked out Hardy for a couple days.  Although the team hasn’t gone any further, just the fact that he was brought in sends a terrible message about desperate teams valuing potential production over character (or lack thereof).

As mentioned above, football is quite possibly the most “bottom line” of the bottom line businesses.

With Jaguars head coach Gus Bradley and general manager Dave Caldwell firmly on the hot seat, it’s understandable why they’d want to kick the proverbial tires on someone who could improve the team’s pass rush.  After all, Jacksonville did rank 24th overall, 29th against the pass and 31st in scoring defense.

“I think we’ve suffered long enough,” Jaguars owner Shad Khan said, chuckling during a recent phone interview with USA TODAY Sports. “It’s been painful.”

All of the recent accolades bestowed upon Jacksonville for their great draft and offseason have made that pressure all the more real for the front office.

“We’ve been fortunate where Shad’s given us four good years to build this and get this up to what we feel is a competitive NFL team,” Caldwell said. “This is the first offseason where I think we’re all excited going into the season of, hey, we’ve got a chance now. And we’ll see what happens.”

Hardy would immediately become the best pass rusher that the Jaguars have.  He would likely play opposite 2015 first-round pick Dante Fowler and make the entire defensive line better.

But at what cost? 

There’s a reason why a standout player at one of the most important positions on the field is still available, and that’s because of his gruesome character weighed against his production.  The equation didn’t work for the Cowboys and it certainly won’t work for the Baltimore Ravens, according to head coach John Harbaugh.

“Greg Hardy? He won’t be a Raven, I can tell you that,” Harbaugh expressed earlier in the offseason.

Of course the Ravens couldn’t sign him, they still have a certain amount of egg on their collective faces from the whole Ray Rice incident.

Talent matters in the NFL.  You can’t win without talented guys.  But that’s just one part of the equation. Team chemistry matters too and a player like Hardy would bring immediate backlash in the media, throughout the fanbase and give the team the type of attention it doesn’t want.

Working out Hardy isn’t inexcusable, but signing him would send a terrible message for a team that has tried to build things “the right way.”


About Charlie Bernstein

Charlie Bernstein

Charlie Bernstein is the managing football editor for Football Insiders and has covered the NFL for over a decade.  Charlie has hosted drive time radio for NBC and ESPN affiliates in different markets around the country, along with being an NFL correspondent for ESPN Radio and WFAN.  He has been featured on the NFL Network as well as Sirius/XM NFL Radio and has been published on Fox Sports, Sports Illustrated, ESPN as well as numerous other publications.