Greg Hardy Suspended 10 Games

The NFL announced that Cowboys defensive end Greg Hardy will be suspended for the first 10 games of the NFL season. Hardy was signed this offseason as a free agent, but the Cowboys protected themselves in the event of this suspension, a suspension that Hardy is likely to challenge in the coming weeks. I’ll take a brief look at what this means for the Cowboys salary cap.

Hardy’s contract had four elements to it, three of which were pertinent to his cap charge the year. Of those components his workout bonus of $1,311,600 will not be impacted provided he reports to all offseason activities. He had a $750,000 base salary of which he will now only earn 6 weeks worth of pay, reducing that number to $264,706 for the season. Hardy had $9.25 million in gameday active roster bonuses which now will have a maximum value of $3,468,750.  He also had not likely to be earned incentives which at this point should be impossible to earn. That should mean his maximum cap charge this year will be $5,045,056.

Hardy’s current cap charge of $3,217,850 should not change until September 5 which is the date the suspension officially takes effect. At that time his cap charge will drop to $2,732,556, which will represent the loss of base salary due to the suspension. I believe that number will hold until Hardy’s suspension ends and he plays in two games. After that Hardy’s cap charge can then rise by an additional $578,125 for every game he is active. If I remember correctly Hardy’s roster bonuses are tied to actually being active so its possible Dallas could avoid a few weeks payment if they request a roster exemption for Hardy once his suspension ends.

By the time Hardy returns he will essentially have missed a year and a half of competitive football and it may not be as simple to just fit him into the system for a late run.  I would expect because he missed so much time that Dallas will ask him to play extensively in the preseason even though it will be against far inferior competition. Once the preseason ends he can’t participate in activities to be ready for the season. I would also venture that if the Cowboys season heads in the wrong direction they might release Hardy rather than wasting $3.7 million on a playoff run that doesn’t exist.

This suspension now makes it more realistic for Dallas to trade for Adrian Peterson of the Vikings. Prior to the suspension the Cowboys had to account for the possibility that Hardy would take up $11.311 million in cap space, an additional $8.1 million over his current figure. Now they stand to lose just $1.8 million. The team currently has, by my estimates, $12.25 million in room. That would still leave them with some work to do with the cap to bring on Peterson, but it is a much easier path now than before.

  • David J. Kubik

    Hardy already sat out pretty much all last season, why doesn’t he get time served, then just pay a fine equivalent to those ten games (probably $8-9 million). Technically, I think this would give Carolina a cap credit?

    • JUCJ85

      You could ask the same for the 49ers OLB Aldon Smith, he sat out part of 2013, and went into rehab, and even Goodell said he would take that into consideration, then he suspended him 9 games last year. Goodell is so up and down, and doesn’t seem to know what he is doing half the time.

      • David J. Kubik

        Sometimes I feel like he (Goodell) is incompetent, authorities I feel like he is a $42 million dollar a year whipping boy that knows exactly what he is doing. It’s probably somewhere in-between.

      • My feeling is that the owners are aware that the two things that can hurt the sport are stoppages of regular games and too many off the field incidents involving drugs or other stuff. So I think a lot of what he does is dependant on media reaction. The moves with Peterson and Hardy I think is very calculated. Hell throw the book at the players, force the NFLPAs hand and then have the legal systems and the union look bad.

        • McGeorge

          Jason,
          That’s a good observation.
          Goodell can look “tough”, and let other groups take some heat.

          I think the media has over reacted to some of these incidents and blown them out of proportion, and in my opinion caused injustice. (nothing new there).
          Didn’t Goodell recently agree to let someone else dish out punishment?

          • The problem with punishing based on how strongly the media reacts is that plenty in the media will figure it out and react to that as well. Simply put, Goodell and the owners need to sit down and ask themselves how much of a suspension is warranted (if any) for

            * An arrest/charge with no conviction.
            * An arrest/charge with a conviction, but later overturned.
            * An arrest/charge with a conviction that is either upheld or not appealed.

            And if any additional penalties are warranted, it is based on whether or not there are multiple infractions within a certain time span.

            Goodell seems to have based the original two-game suspension on Ray Rice being a “model citizen” in which he quickly admitted his guilt in the judicial system, rather than simply saying “Ray Rice was charged and convicted for a single offense” and based the punishment on that. Then he (and the Ravens) reacted when additional video of Rice’s actions were released. Never mind that Rice told Goodell and the Ravens, “Yes, I struck Janay.” They just throw the book at him for PR reasons.

            In other words, punishment should be based on the actual infractions committed by the player (what they are and how many), not based on what makes for good PR. Punishing based on good PR almost always results in bad policy.

          • McGeorge

            >> Punishing based on good PR almost always results in bad policy.

            I agree. But it makes for good PR 🙂
            Who cares if Roger is unjust, he look’s good.

            It’s sad to hear women talk about Ray Rice beating the !@#$% out of his wife. How he should go to jail. They have no clue what a real abuser does. They hospitalize their wives. They terrorize them. Ray Rice is a punk but as of that point in time, they didn’t compare with the typical case.

    • The books are closed on the Panthers so they cant do that, Id imagine that the fine would be way above anything allowed in the CBA and never hold so they cant go there either.

  • McGeorge

    Hardy is a goon, but he didn’t kill or rape any one. He didn’t beat the crap out of the woman, like other players have done to men, putting them in the hospital and requiring surgery.

    I dislike how the Goodell and NFL makes up penalties. I’m fine with the guy being suspended a certain number of games, but this is too much, and it’s on top of missing all of last year.

    Hardy shouldn’t miss 2 seasons.

    Adrian Peterson shouldn’t have missed the entire year.

    Ray Rice missed an entire year.

    It’s gotten out of hand. Suspension yes, but the severity of these suspensions are unfair.

    I despise Goodell and the NFL management, but on the other hand I don’t go to games, I DVR them and watch them without commercials. Players are over paid, and the owners and Goodell are even more over paid.

  • eddiea

    So, Hardy really isn’t convicted if anything and gets 10 games. Peterson is and nothing happens. This is why players don’t like/trust Goodell. I know decision was made by someone else, a woman, but this has Goodells”prints” all over it. Not sure what will happen, on appeal, but suspension should be reduced to 3-4 games. That’s still more than min suspension aloud for real reason investigation was started, DV, not Conduct Detrimental

    • McGeorge

      Maybe Goodell feels he has to appear “tough” because of the public black eye he took over Ray Rice.
      But even that incident wasn’t that big a deal. Ray Rice did something bad, but he was spit upon and acted in anger. And he didn’t cause physical damage (i.e. breaking bones, nose, etc).
      The NFL is hypocritical.

  • buk

    Doesn’t the alleged victim have an obligation to appear in court no matter how many times it takes to testify against the alleged abuser? The victim cooperating with the criminal trial did not mean she could not still pursue a civil suit against Hardy. Unlike Rice there is no conviction, no admission of guilt, no video, no alleged victim willing to stand by statements in court or to NFL.
    To not be able to play 25 games in a sport with such a short shelf life is way too punitive. My biggest issue is not only is this a first offense(that we know of) but the incident took place before the new domestic abuse policy was implemented.
    Yes the NFL can do this and worry about appeal later but making it up as you go along is not what they should do. Since nobody else has mentioned it i’ll say it. African americans already have a collective mistrust of the criminal justice system, due process, etc. It cannot be lost on majority of African American players/union members making millions that Goodell ,who is very white has absolutely hammered those same black player’s pockets for on and off the field infractions since he took over. Not only do the rules continue to change but NFL has totally abandoned any assumption of innocent until proven guilty or due process. This won’t be forgotten when it’s time to negotiate the next CBA i’ll tell you that.