The Tampa Bay Buccaneers have a need at defensive end. During the free agency period the Bucs did not choose to re-sign end Adrian Clayborn and DE/DT Da'Quan Bowers. They also released Michael Johnson. Greg Hardy, also known as the Kraken, happened to be one of the last high level talent available in the free agency period at defensive end.
There was a growing divide amongst Tampa fans on Bucsnation about bringing the Kraken onto the roster due to his not so great recent off field developments. DT Gerald McCoy had tweets that he really wanted the Kraken. Do we know what occurred with the Kraken and why the Bucs were not in on him?
Pewter Report does. Here's a snippet of what they know:
Just how were interested were the Buccaneers in free agent defensive end Greg Hardy? The team was prepared to go all-in from a financial standpoint to match whatever Dallas was offering, but somehow through the recruiting process either Hardy or his agent, Drew Rosenhaus, let it slip that the 2013 Pro Bowler ultimately wanted to play for the Cowboys. Once Tampa Bay got wind of that they backed out as the team was ultimately being leveraged to drive Dallas' price tag up.
Free agency is a two-way street, and as much as the Bucs wanted Hardy to be in red and pewter, he wanted to have a star on his helmet more and chose to sign with Dallas instead. Throwing even more money at a risky player that will likely miss the first six games of the 2015 season may not have even landed Hardy, though.
Tampa Bay was going to go all in, but was used to drive up the price tag from Dallas, from which the Kraken ultimately wanted to go. There was big money to be spent as well as a willingness to know to be without Hardy for some games for the season. The Bucs wanted that talent that badly and Hardy could have been a Buc, but he did not want to be a Buc.
The Bucs' front office was correct to leave the table once it discovered that they were being used by Hardy and his agent to simply drive up the price of where Hardy wanted to ultimately land. This incident has got to rub a Buc fan the wrong way.
Free agents have been overpaid to come here. Vincent Jackson signed a five year, $55.5 million dollar deal. Carl Nicks signed a five year, $47.5 million dollar deal. Those two were signed in 2012, a year after going 4 - 12 as well as having a rookie head coach from the collegiate ranks in Rugters' Greg Schiano. It is the 2015 off-season, after going 2 - 14 with Lovie Smith as the head coach, a very defensive minded head coach, with money to burn. Greg Hardy and his agent played the Tampa Bay front office.
There are two things to get from this. One would be motivation for Lovie Smith to make the Buccaneers relevant sooner than later to never be played like that again. Two is that the Bucs are in dire need for a defensive end. Makes one wonder what the Bucs will do with their 2nd round pick as that pick has a lot of unknowns than what position the Bucs will pick with the first overall.
Edit: Late addition to the article. Hardy left on impression on Licht, not a good one. Here's a quote from a recent Pewter Report article and see if you can pick up on the dig:
"We are already better," Licht said. "The addition of Dirk Koetter was huge. We made huge strides at the end of the year and our defense really came around. "We’ve ripped off the ‘Band-Aids’ and we’ll work feverishly to make sure we don’t make the same mistakes twice. That’s on me. It’s better to cut ties a year too early rather than a year too late. We want players who want to be Bucs and players that are hungry. Ownership couldn’t be more supportive."