Mac Engel

Cowboys off-season a cause to celebrate until Jerry opens his yapper

Every single time the Dallas Cowboys make us believe that they have learned from their mistakes, Jerry opens his mouth to remind us that not even a billionaire owner can change his spots.

This NFL free agency period had been a wonderful time of inactivity for the Cowboys until Tuesday when it was not what they did that was the killjoy but rather what the owner said.

As Cowboys fans and followers we should be rejoicing in the types of boring but solid additions this team made, or will make, but rather it’s what Jerry refuses to rule out that should scare the ever-living bleep out of everybody.

Jerry won’t rule out the return of Greg Hardy.

At the NFL owners meetings in Florida, Jerry told reporters he would not dismiss the notion that Greg Hardy will be a Dallas Cowboy next season.

It’s statements like this that make you want to quit life.

Everybody at Valley Ranch, most notably the head coach, has turned the page on the failed Hardy experiment for a variety of reasons, most notably he was not worth the headache. Make no mistake, The Kraken was a migraine that no pill could cure.

It was about one year ago the team signed him to a one-year deal that generated the worst types of headlines because of his domestic violence case.

In his one-year tryout, considering his past, he needed to be a player on the field and invisible off of it. Instead, save for a few plays — some of which were spectacular — he was mostly invisible on the field.

This is a guy who acted like Charles Haley but failed to grasp the small fact he’s not Charles Haley.

Hardy was late to team functions, such as those silly little things called practices. Sometimes he was a no-show to meetings and could not be found. The place to start looking was usually Uptown in Dallas.

He was also a terrible influence on rookie defensive end Randy Gregory, who will miss the first four games of this season because he failed a drug test. And Hardy caused a stir on the sidelines in New York when he nearly hit special teams coach Rich Bisaccia.

In all, Hardy finished with six sacks in 12 games, two of which came in the first half of his first game. In the final month of the season, when he was making his contract push, he was virtually invisible.

Nothing The Kraken did suggests he is worth a dime, even on a team that still needs a pass rushing defensive end.

So where are all of those Hardy defenders who insisted during the year that if the Cowboys let him go there would be 30 other teams waiting to sign him?

Hardy is talented and he is still only 27, but this is the type of player Jerry needs to listen to his coaches before going all Jerry on us. If they don’t want him, he shouldn’t want him.

The sad part is that until this statement, Jerry and the ’Boys were following a sound philosophy this off-season of not doing much of anything.

While other teams hurriedly buried free agents in huge deals, the Cowboys simply waited.

Maybe this philosophy is the result of head coach Jason Garrett or scouting director Will McClay. Or Stephen Jones. Or the real brains of this organization — Charlotte Jones Anderson.

Whoever is making these calls has decided the Dallas Cowboys are out of the Neiman Marcus aisle of free agency and are now shoppers in the manager’s choice bin. This does not mean the team is done with its way of handing out big cash deals to one of their own, but the days of signing guys such as Brandon Carr to monster free-agent contracts are over.

Nothing builds up unrealistic expectations faster than stupid money.

Instead, the Cowboys signed former Washington Redskins running back Alfred Morris to a two-year deal to back up Darren McFadden; it’s the type of excitingly dull deal this team needs to embrace.

The same can be said for the forthcoming addition of free agent cornerback Patrick Robinson and the signing of Raiders defensive end Benson Mayowa.

Of these three additions, there are no cap-killing deals that will hamstring this team. These are safe, plug-in players who won’t be Pro Bowlers but should be fine.

The crux of this team is not Hardy, or a cast of free agents, but the health of Tony Romo. As long as he’s standing, the team is competitive. Nothing the Cowboys do this off-season is going to change that reality.

Because the team is so Romo-centric, they will not be drafting a quarterback with the fourth overall pick, but building everything as if he will be healthy this season and beyond.

Guys such as Morris and Robinson complement that dicey belief. Bringing back Hardy does not.

Listen to Mac Engel every Tuesday and Thursday on Shan & RJ from 5:30-10 a.m. on 105.3 The Fan.

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