Aldon Smith’s struggles a bad sign for Cowboys and Greg Hardy

AP

The Cowboys have said they anticipated a suspension for defensive end Greg Hardy, but recent history and their own moves indicate that they might have overestimated his potential ability and availability this season.

Jean-Jacques Taylor of ESPNDallas.com raises a valid point, that Hardy’s 25-game absence from football would make it extremely difficult for him to have any kind of meaningful impact on the field.

Hardy played in just one game last year before spending the next 15 on the commissioner’s exempt list, and his 10-game suspension this year would mean a long stretch of not playing football (He can still participate in the offseason, training camp and preseason games).

He’s a productive pass-rusher when eligible, with 15.0 sacks the last time he played a full season.

But the history of 49ers outside linebacker Aldon Smith shows it’s not always easy to flip the switch back on.

Prior to his nine-game suspension last year, Smith was one of the most destructive pass-rushers in the game, with 42.0 sacks in his first 43 games. When he returned to the team midseason, he had just 2.0 sacks the rest of the way.

Unless Hardy’s immune to rust or the suspension is significantly shortened, it’s hard to see how he’s going to hit any of his incentives (which start at 8.0 sacks)

And that’s the kind of impact the Cowboys were hoping for when they signed him, and let lesser players (such as Anthony Spencer and George Selvie) walk in free agency. That could significantly change their draft plans, and might be part of the reason they’re hesitant to give up draft picks to obtain Adrian Peterson, knowing they need those picks to find someone to help them rush the passer for most of the season.

20 responses to “Aldon Smith’s struggles a bad sign for Cowboys and Greg Hardy

  1. There is no way that Jerry “anticipated” a 10 game suspension.

    If he did anticipate 10 games and still signed Hardy, he’s a bigger fool than we thought.

  2. The NFL understands that all turds must be flushed to protect it’s future, but the union is standing in the way.

  3. It’s hard to work up much sympathy for Greg Hardy–he was paid his full salary last year without the wear and tear, after all.

    And maybe the Aldon Smith comparison is apt, but his problems stemmed from substance abuse and a healthy dose of immaturity, neither of which seem to plague Hardy.

  4. Speaking of Aldon Smith, remind me again why he hasn’t been suspended nearly as long for a rap sheet much longer than Hardy or Ray Rice’s?

  5. When you make a deal with the Devil these are the things you must think about…..and maybe they didn’t.

  6. Yet another data point to prove that being on the exempt list and getting paid is still punishment.

  7. 1) Aldon Smith’s issues (that led to his time off) were of a very different variety than Hardy’s. I don’t know exactly how Smith handled his time away, but it never appeared that he had the kind of chip on his shoulder that would help him pull an “ARod” (returning rejuvenated after time off). Hardy strikes me as the kind of guy who would use his suspension as fuel to go crazy…on the field, I hope.

    2) The 49ers were a utter mess around the time of Smith’s return, including at the coaching level. Think maybe Smith’s lack of impact was about more than just rust?

    Small sample sizes being what they are, it makes sense to bring this up, but I’m pretty sure this doesn’t merit a dedicated article. Apples and oranges.

  8. The Cowboys completely covered their butts on this. A lot of ignorant comments about Jerry when he was actually universally praised by people who understand pro football and contract structure. The suspension, if it stands, will result in about an extra $8 million to spend on another free agent.

  9. The reason Aldon Smith didn’t put up great numbers last year was because Justin Smith slowed down. Now that Justin Smith is retiring, don’t expect much from Aldon this year. Especially if Justin Smith’s replacement doesn’t learn how to get away with holding to open up those holes for Aldon like Justin did.

  10. “The NFL understands that all turds must be flushed to protect it’s future, but the union is standing in the way.”

    I didn’t know that the union was opposed to flushing Goodell.

  11. Those of you saying that when Cowboy retires, A. Smith’s numbers will decline might be forgetting that the Niners signed Darnell Dockett in free agency. That and Justin has yet to decide if he is returning or not…

  12. Alden Smith was suspended two years for the same crime. Don’t understand the comments on here saying otherwise.

  13. He’s a bum and it should have been a longer suspension. Read the facts of the case – he should be in jail.

  14. Harve Gulch Cowboy says:

    The Cowboys completely covered their butts on this. A lot of ignorant comments about Jerry when he was actually universally praised by people who understand pro football and contract structure. The suspension, if it stands, will result in about an extra $8 million to spend on another free agent.
    ********************************

    It was a $13.1 mil contract, so the balance of 5.1 mil will be paid if Hardy plays the last 6 games.

    Is 6 games worth $5.1 mil?

    You have to remember that Hardy will not have taken a single NFL snap in 25 games when he attempts to play against the Panthers in week 12.

    Who do they get and how much do they pay that person to fill his roster spot until then?

    It might be too little, too late to make any difference in the Cowboy’s season by the time Hardy is eligible to return.

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