Because of Luck, Colts Emerging As Strong Suitor for Greg Hardy
According to Bleacher Report’s Jason Cole, the Indianapolis Colts are emerging as strong suitors for not only the Detroit Lions Ndamukong Suh, but now also Carolina Panthers pass rusher Greg Hardy:
"“After talking to multiple sources throughout the agent industry and throughout the NFL, the team that is emerging as the number one suitor for the biggest defensive lineman who are available, specifically Ndamukong Suh and Greg Hardy,” said Cole. “The number one team for them is the Indianapolis Colts. The Colts are going through a major upgrade on their defense and are looking to pay serious money for talent along the defensive line and throughout their defense as a whole.” “But the number one recruiting tool for the Colts is a player on offense, and that’s quarterback Andrew Luck. Again, talking to those sources, they believe Luck is the guy who does the best job at selling players on the possibility of winning championships in Indianapolis. So there’s two things working here: Number one, the Colts are willing to pay. Number two, they have the quarterback, a young quarterback that makes them an immediate competitor. Filling in the top two priorities for most players.”"
Sep 7, 2014; Tampa, FL, USA; Carolina Panthers defensive end Greg Hardy (76) against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers during the first half at Raymond James Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports
While we’ve previously noted the interest in the Lions Ndamukong Suh, this is the first we’ve heard of the Colts serious interest in former Carolina Panther, now free agent pass rusher Greg Hardy. Nicknamed “The Kracken“, there is no doubt that Greg Hardy is one of the most talented young pass rushers in the NFL. At age 26, he’s just one season removed from a 15 sack season.
However, it’s the off-the-field trouble that raises some major red flags with Hardy. He was suspended 15 games last season because of domestic violence charges. With the Colts already littered with some off-the-field trouble this offseason, it raises the question of whether they’d actually be willing to add another troubled player to the mix.
Still, from purely a football perspective, the Colts could certainly use another pass rusher. At 6’4″, 275 pounds, Hardy possesses the rare combination of speed, power, and athleticism that makes him a dynamic pass rusher off the edge. With Robert Mathis set to turn 34 years old and coming off a season-ending torn achilles injury, the Colts could use a long-term successor at the position. While rookie Jonathan Newsome is an emerging young pass rusher with a team-high 6.5 sacks last season, the Colts could always use more pass rushers.
In today’s passing league that is the NFL, a team can never have enough pass rushers, even Colts General Manager Ryan Grigson said so himself in his press conference at the NFL Combine:
"“I was always brought up if you have 12 pass rushers, give me 13,” Grigson said. “You know, you can never have enough pass rushers and that’s ‘Scouting 101′. The hard part is actually finding them, and then findings ones that you know, the handful of them that are clean and really good. Clean in, I mean they don’t have any off-the-field, any warts, they’re hard to come by. You sometimes have to gamble later or maybe take a junior that has limited production and that’s where true scouting comes into play.”“But I feel like, we have some guys coming back from injury,” added Grigson. “That, you know, there’s a cluster of guys…you hope just one or two of those guys shake out because we feel like they have some real ability. Of course, you know Mathis, but we have a lot of high hopes for a lot of guys in that position group. But you know if there’s a pass rusher that gets your blood pumping, you know in the draft…you have to consider him, no matter where your needs are.”"
Therefore, even given Hardy’s troubled off-the-field history or “warts”, it looks like the Colts still may be serious in pursuing his pass rushing services in free agency for better or for worse. Raising the question, Will the Colts actually release “The Kracken”?
Sep 7, 2014; Tampa, FL, USA; Carolina Panthers defensive end Greg Hardy (76) against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers during the first half against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Raymond James Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports