A report surfaced from an unlikely source earlier today that the Raiders were "in negotiations" with free agent defensive end Greg Hardy. The source was unlikely enough, few were paying it much attention. That being Huffington Post sports columnist, Jordan Shultz, who said he puts the odds of the Raiders signing Hardy at 60-40.
Now a second report has come out from Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk who says the Raiders indeed have interest in signing Hardy, which could mean there may be something to it.
Hardy put up 26 sacks over two seasons in 2012-13. The 25-year-old pass rusher was set to become a hot name in free agency after his 15 sack 2013 season so the Panthers placed the franchise tag on him. Then he had domestic violence charges put against him and just a month prior to the season was found guilty of those charges. The Panthers still played him initially but after just one game last season, the public outcry forced them to pull him and he was placed on the Commissioner's exempt list the remainder of the season.
He remains on that list and the uncertainty of when he could come off of it is a major reason why he has not received much of any interest as a free agent. Well, that and the whole domestic violence thing and the PR hit that comes with it.
Though Hardy is able to work out a deal with a team while he's on the exempt list, there's no guarantees of when he might be reinstated and the league is still deciding whether to suspend him. He may not have played this whole time but he is not technically suspended. He was paid during this period. Under the personal conduct policy, he would be suspended a minimum of six games. So, negotiate at your own risk essentially.
There is no question the Raiders could use a player of his talents, but Mark Davis seemed to make it clear the Raiders would not tolerate domestic abusers when he told Tim Kawakami that the NFL needs to take a stronger stance on domestic violence.
Hardy appealed his conviction and the case was dismissed just before it could go to trial again when the accuser failed to cooperate. Usually that means there was a settlement and the NFL doesn't follow along with the law of the land when doling out punishment according to the bylaws of the NFL.
Whether the Raiders' interest is strong remains to be seen. And certainly throwing out signing likelihood ratios like 60-40 are meaningless. If things ramp up, it will come out.