JACKSONVILLE, Fla. (AP) — Jacksonville Jaguars general manager Dave Caldwell says he was doing his “homework” on Greg Hardy when he brought in the polarizing defensive end for a two-day workout and interview session last week.
Caldwell said he has “no imminent plans” to sign Hardy, a free agent who spent last season in Dallas. He added that the Jaguars are “going to turn over every rock, but not at any price.”
“We want to take calculated risks and we’ll take chances, but we’re not going to do this at any cost, either,” Caldwell said.
Hardy had a tumultuous season with the Cowboys, one that started with a four-game suspension stemming from his domestic violence case in North Carolina. It also was marked by several disruptions including a physical confrontation with an assistant coach. Dallas opted not to re-sign him.
“It was an opportunity for us — here’s a guy that was a franchise defensive end two years ago sitting out on the street — to bring him in, work him out and try to find out the facts where he’s at, the truth behind everything that surrounds him and just do our homework,” Caldwell said. “We brought him and he did a workout.
“It’s not often you get your chance to put your hands on a player of that caliber to work him out. So we’ll just see where it’s at. We have no imminent plans of signing him at this point. But it was good to get him in here and find out about him.”
The Jaguars could use some veteran pass-rushing help after parting ways with Chris Clemons and Andre Branch and failing to sign Olivier Vernon and Robert Ayers in free agency.
They have Dante Fowler, the third overall pick in the 2015 draft, coming off knee surgery but have little quality depth behind him. His backups include linebacker Dan Skuta, former first-round pick Bjoern Werner, third-year pro Chris Smith and rookies Yannick Ngakoue and Tyrone Holmes.
Adding Hardy to the mix likely would only happen if the Jaguars deal with injuries or inconsistency during training camp, which begins Thursday.
And Hardy, one of the biggest names, remaining on the free-agent market.
“It was really to find out more about him so we don’t have any questions going into the season,” Caldwell said. “There are no what-ifs for us right now. There could have been a what-if Week 3, Week 4 or into the preseason, but we kind of have our questions answered as our game plan for him.”
Hardy was suspended for the first four games of last season for violating the NFL’s personal conduct policy. He was accused in 2014 of throwing his then-girlfriend into a bathtub and then on a futon covered with guns and trying to choke her. A judge found him guilty on domestic violence charges.
Hardy denied the charges and said his ex was under the influence of alcohol and was angry because he told her to leave his home. He appealed the conviction, and the case was dismissed in February 2015 after prosecutors said they were unable to locate the woman. Prosecutors said the woman had reached a settlement with Hardy.
“Domestic violence is a serious issue,” Caldwell said. “There’s no place for it in the world, let alone the NFL. But I think for us, we’re going to do what’s best for our team. We have players that want to win. We have a coaching staff that wants to win as much as our fan base. We’re going to turn over every rock, but not at any price.”