The door has been officially closed on the matter. When the team signed him last off-season, he was a controversial signing because of his domestic violence past with an ex-girlfriend.
With their first-round pick in the 2016 NFL Draft, the team took Ezekiel Elliott with the fourth overall pick. Then, with their second-round pick, they decided to take a gamble on Jaylon Smith — who he says can play this season, but other teams don’t believe he could.
In the third-round, they picked Maliek Collins, a defensive tackle.
When asked about the team potentially signing Hardy over, Jones gave a simple answer. He said, ‘Yes.’
This is the first-time that Jones has made public comments about Hardy. Earlier this off-season, when he was asked about the matter, he said he left the door open — until now.
The team signed him to a one-year deal worth $13.1 million. However, his deal contained no guaranteed money — meaning he had to earn every penny.
During the 2014 season, he only played in one game with the Carolina Panthers, before being put on the Commissioner’s List after his domestic violence case.
Yet, while he was on that special list, he still got paid his entire franchise tag salary.
This past season, he missed the first four games for violating the league’s personal conduct policy. He was initially suspended 10 games, but he appealed it before it was reduced.
While they gave Hardy the chance, his production never lived up. He had six sacks — including a full sack in his final eight games.
He was also late to meetings and practices — which the coaches and his teammates were not pleased with. Yet, they never punished him with his playing time.
Hardy was paid about $8.8 million. But now, he faces a dilemma that may see him missing the entire 2016 season.