Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones said defensive end Greg Hardy "paid a terrific price" for signing a contract that would likely be considered below market value had Hardy not faced domestic violence charges.
Jones, speaking to PFT Live on Wednesday while in Arizona for the NFL's owners meetings, addressed the Cowboys' signing of Hardy last week to a one-year deal that could be worth more than $13 million.
[daily_cut.nfl]Hardy is on the commissioner's exempt list and subject to further punishment in the form of suspensions or fines after being found guilty on misdemeanor domestic violence charges last July. The 26-year-old, five-year veteran appealed the conviction and was set to stand trial last month, but the charges were dismissed after prosecutors could not locate the accuser, who reportedly received a cash payout to drop the charges.
"He's paid a terrific price," Jones said on PFT Live. "Had he not had this incident, his contract would be one like Ndamukong Suh, possibly, but he doesn't have that. So he's got more to come because the league is going to rule on if he has suspensions this year. All of that is all incorporated in that [contract] and the bottom line is we hope and feel that he won't do that, go down this road again."
Suh, the former Detroit Lions defensive tackle, signed a six-year, $114 million free-agent deal earlier this month with the Miami Dolphins that includes $60 million guaranteed. The contract made Suh the highest-paid defensive player in NFL history.
Jones' comments on Wednesday were the latest in a series of reactions to Hardy's signing. Cowboys head coach Jason Garrett said the team carefully vetted Hardy with an "exhausting" amount of research, while Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings said he was disappointed by the signing. Dallas sports anchor Dale Hansen also criticized the move by saying the Cowboys "can't possibly sink any lower."
Hardy spent the first five seasons of his career with the Carolina Panthers, making the Pro Bowl in 2013 after notching a franchise-record 15 sacks. Last season, he played only one game before being placed on the commissioner's exempt list.
- Mike Fiammetta