Hardy signed a one-year contract with the Cowboys shortly thereafter, the team announced. It's a highly incentive-laden deal that could be worth up to $13.1 million with no guaranteed money, NFL Media Insider Ian Rapoport reported, per a source involved. Rapoport added that the Cowboys can't use either the franchise or transition tag on Hardy.
The contract is structured to protect the Cowboys if Hardy faces a suspension, as more than $11 million of the $13.1 million maximum comes in the form of per-game roster and workout bonuses, a source involved told NFL Media's Albert Breer.
His market was slow to develop due to last year's domestic violence conviction, which left him sidelined for all but one game. The charges were dismissed last month after North Carolina prosecutors said the accuser in the case couldn't be found. Hardy remains on the Commissioner's Exempt List, and the NFL will decide if it will levy any punishment.
In addition to the possibility of a looming suspension to open the 2015 season, teams were concerned about a concomitant public relations hit.
"At the end of the day, we didn't feel good about (signing Hardy)," general manager Jason Licht explained of the Bucs' decision to withdraw on Wednesday.
"Obviously a great deal of our study was dedicated to the issue of domestic violence, and the recent events that associated Greg with that issue," he said. "We know that Greg's status remains under review by the National Football League."
Although Hardy brings excess baggage, he's also a difference-making talent at a position of need in Dallas.
A team with expectations of playoff contention -- such as Dallas -- is better suited to withstand a potential early-season absence in the event of an NFL suspension.
Cowboys owner Jerry Jones is no stranger to taking fliers on talented players viewed by other teams as character risks. A more generous interpretation is that Jones believes in second chances.