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Greg Hardy signs one-year deal with Cowboys

Greg Hardy

Carolina Panthers’ Greg Hardy (76) celebrates after a sack against the New York Jets during the first half of an NFL football game in Charlotte, N.C., Sunday, Dec. 15, 2013. (AP Photo/Bob Leverone)


It took eight days, but the best pass rusher on the open market finally has a new deal.

Per a league source, defensive end Greg Hardy has signed with the Cowboys.

It’s a one-year contract, which carries a salary of $750,000. He can earn up to a total of $13.1 million (which was his base salary as Carolina’s franchise player in 2014) through a series of per-game roster bonuses, incentives, and a large workout bonus.

Specifically, Hardy can earn a workout bonus of $1.3116 million, a whopping $9.25 million in per-game roster bonuses, and $1.8044 million in incentives based on sacks.

The Cowboys chose to keep the base salary as low as possible in the event that another incident or accusation against Hardy puts him back on the Commissioner’s-Exempt list for all or part of the 2015 season. The thinking is that the Cowboys would only owe him game checks and not per-game roster bonuses if he’s suspended with pay.

At last check, the league had not resolved the question of whether a player would be entitled to per-game roster bonuses and other items of compensation tied to playing in games while on the Commissioner’s-Exempt list. Either the NFL and NFLPA have agreed that a player on the Commissioner’s-Exempt list gets salary only or the Cowboys are preparing for that eventuality.

It’s also possible that the contract contains specific language in which Hardy waives his right to anything except base salary, if placed on the Commissioner’s-Exempt list. If the NFL and NFLPA have yet to resolve that question, it’s presumably a topic that player and team could negotiate on their own.