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Buccaneers talking to Greg Hardy

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Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers are talking to defensive end Greg Hardyaccording to Rand Getlin. Hardy's also talking to the Dallas Cowboys and Seattle Seahawks.

Hardy's easily the best on-field defensive end available in free agency, especially after most of the pass rushers have already been snapped up. Hardy's big, physical and racked up 11 and 15 sacks in the final two full seasons he played. But he's still on the market because of his off-field issues, which caused him to spend all but one week of the 2014 season on the commissioner's exempt list, getting but not playing a snap.

Hardy was found guilty of assaulting and threatening to kill his ex-girlfriend last year, but an automatic appeal saw the charges dismissed after the prosecutors couldn't find his ex-girlfriend -- she'd apparently left the state for the duration, refusing to testify. The district attorney claimed Hardy had paid the victim to settle any potential civil claims. That doesn't change what likely happened, though, and what happened has many NFL teams concerned.

More than that, Hardy could still be suspended for his assault charge, and Roger Goodell is likely to take him off the field for six games or more this year.

The Bucs have a big need for a pass rusher after letting go of Michael Johnson and whiffing on every available free agent, and Hardy's basically their last, realistic option. But are they willing to overlook his assault charge for the sake of a better pass rush?