We can cross one potential suitor off the list of teams that might go after free-agent defensive end Greg Hardy.
When posed with a comment regarding Hardy’s availability on the open market, Baltimore Ravens head coach John Harbaugh didn’t mince words about the team’s lack of interest in the defensive end:
When told Greg Hardy is an available pass rusher, John Harbaugh said, "Greg Hardy? He won't be a Raven, I can tell you that."
— Todd Archer (@toddarcher) March 22, 2016
First off, the Ravens run a 3-4 defense. There wouldn’t be much interest in Hardy in the first place. He’s solely played with his hands down in a 4-3 scheme throughout his six-year NFL career.
Secondly, the Ravens’ lack of interest makes even more sense when we check in on the entire Ray Rice debacle. The team received a ton of criticism for its handling of Rice’s domestic violence situation prior to the video of him hitting his wife became public record back in 2014. Rice was a member of the Ravens at the time of the incident.
Showing interest in Hardy would bring even more criticism considering his domestic violence past is already well documented.
It’s not too often that a head coach completely shuts down the idea of signing a player. That’s never acted as an advantage when it comes to courting potential free agents at the same position. In this, leaving your options open can create some sense of an advantage in negotiations.
Hardy, 27, recorded six sacks in 12 games for the Dallas Cowboys last season.
This came on the heels of him spending 15 games the previous year on the commissioner’s exempt list with the Carolina Panthers following a domestic violence incident with his ex-girlfriend. Hardy was then suspended the first 10 games of the 2015 campaign before seeing that shortened to four games on appeal.
While Hardy did perform at a relatively decent level on the field for the Cowboys last season, he was too much of a headache off the field for the team to consider re-signing him.
Now that we are three weeks into free agency, there hasn’t been much interest in Hardy’s services.
If other teams have the very same internal thought process we saw from the Ravens publicly on Tuesday, there should be a concern from Hardy’s camp that his presence on the free-agent market will not be a short one.