Everyone should agree that the Packers are in a win now mode. They have the best quarterback in the game and the best tandem of receivers.
General manager Ted Thompson has done well so far in free agency by bringing back Randall Cobb and Bryan Bulaga. Those were the team’s two biggest needs.
So what’s next? What’s the next piece that can not only help the Packers but put them over the top?
The best example of a team recently doing this is Seattle. The Seahawks took a gamble by getting rid of two-time Pro Bowl center in Max Unger in exchange for one of the best tight ends in the league in Jimmy Graham.
The Packers have nearly $22 million available in salary cap space. Why not try and go after one of the best defenders still available?
That person is none other than Greg Hardy. I know what you’re thinking. His off-the-field persona instantly makes him untouchable. His domestic violence charges were dropped after reaching a settlement with his accuser.
That still doesn’t make it right and the NFL may very well still punish him.
If you look at his pro career in a vacuum, Hardy is easily one of the best defensive ends currently in the game. Entering his sixth season, he has 34 sacks and 142 tackles. The last full season he played was in 2013 and he was third in sacks with 15.
With as many as six teams somewhat interested in Hardy so far, the 26-year-old quarterback attacker will not be given a Family Dollar discount. But the Packers have the money to spend on veteran Tramon Williams and still sign Hardy.
Early leaks were that the Raiders were serious contenders for Hardy’s services. Which is fine, but wouldn’t the best location for Hardy be a locker room that is firmly established? Not only that, but play for a franchise that is in the smallest city in the NFL. He’s going to come to Green Bay to play football, repair his tarnished image and earn solid money for his next deal.
I would rather have Hardy over Letroy Guion — who was recently arrested on drug felony charges. B.J. Raji missed all of last season while dealing with a torn right biceps suffered in the third preseason game. The Packers could give Raji another prove-it deal and still bring in Hardy on a heavy incentive-laden deal.
I’m not saying it’s not a gamble, because it’s a huge risk. The team understands the possibility that it will alienate its female fans. It is rolling the dice that there won’t be any protests outside of 1265 Lombardi Ave. imploring for stricter dealings with domestic violence.
However, we’ll never know any more answers. His accuser, former girlfriend Nicole Holder, isn’t cooperating with the district attorney after agreeing to a financial settlement with Hardy.
The Packers can only go on what they know and what’s proven. The rest of the NFL knows that Hardy can still play. Is there a chance that his off-the-field behavior owns headlines again? Oh yeah, there’s always that chance.
But even Hardy has to understand that he’s running out of strikes. One more blemish to his reputation and he’s out of the league.
That sounds like pretty solid motivation to me.——————
Cory Jennerjohn is from Wisconsin and has been in sports media for over 10 years. To contact Cory e-mail him at jeobs -at- yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter: Cory Jennerjohn