Last September, when Rome was burning and the NFL was spraying words at the conflagration in the hopes of putting it out, Cowboys owner Jerry Jones went with the fairly strong stance that domestic violence is “intolerable.”
But now Jones has hired a guy with a domestic violence incident on his record, a term other than intolerable applies.
“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,” Jones said in a statement issued with the announcement that defensive end Greg Hardy has signed a contract. “We entered this free agency period with the idea of utilizing key resources to help us on the defensive side of the ball. . . .
“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.”
Going through a criminal prosecution that ended on the courthouse steps only after he reportedly paid a settlement to the alleged victim would definitely give Hardy a “firm understanding” of the issue. The really question is whether he’ll find himself in a similar situation going forward.
The Cowboys aren’t willing to conclude that he won’t, which is why his base salary is only $750,000 and he’ll get $578,125 for each game in which he is available to play. The thinking is that, if Hardy faces another accusation and lands back on the Commissioner’s-Exempt list, the Cowboys will be paying Hardy only $44,000 per week to not play. That’s far less than the $818,750 he received for each of the 15 games in which he didn’t play last year with Carolina.
Speaking of Carolina, Hardy will see his former team in 2015. The Panthers are scheduled to visit Texas at some point during the upcoming season.