Hardy, 26, was convicted in July of assault and communicating threats to an ex-girlfriend, but those misdemeanor domestic abuse charges were dropped after his accuser failed to show up to testify during the appeal trial.
The NFL began investigating Hardy’s case after his charges were dropped but could not get evidence from the first trial unsealed. Hardy still could face up to a six-game ban for violation of the league’s new domestic violence policy, which was instituted after the fallout over the case involving former Baltimore Ravens running back Ray Rice.
The NFL Players Association thinks that any punishment dealt to Hardy should fall under the league’s old personal conduct policy, which was in place at the time of Hardy's alleged incident.
Hardy has been on the commissioner's exempt list since September, played in one game last season and collected a $13.1 million paycheck after the team franchised him last off-season. He was coming off of a 2013 season in which he had 40 tackles and 15 sacks and was named a second team AP All-Pro.
Hardy will become an unrestricted free agent when the new league year starts on March 10.
- Scooby Axson