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Rise 'n Grind: The Cowboys have a new pass rusher ... kind of

Dallas has a new pass rusher, the NFL has a whole bunch of new rules to consider, and we're wondering if we'll see some new division champs in 2015. Good morning!

Sam Sharpe-USA TODAY Sports

Hey, look. It's that rare day where the NFL cedes the spotlight to another sport. In this case it's the NCAA basketball tournament, the four days where even the most hardened defender of The Shield becomes a college basketball fan ... at least until their bracket is ruined.

You do need a little dose of NFL in your life, even on a day when the hoops tournament starts. That's what we're here to provide.

By the way: Get your bracket here.


Rule changes coming - Maybe. The competition committee outlined the list of rule proposals that they'll consider at next week's league meetings. Replay is the big winner, and I'm starting to wonder if we'll see the Patriots' proposal for making everything subject to a challenge get passed this year. It's got the momentum behind it now. Coaches would still have the same number of challenges to make -- two -- which should ease concerns about making a three-hour game into a four-hour affair.

Dallas lands Hardy - Since the first wave of free agency quieted, we've been watching and waiting to see who would sign former Panthers pass rusher Greg Hardy. It was the Cowboys, with a one-year incentive-laden deal that could pay him up to $13 million with a pretty unique range of bonuses. The addition of Hardy could change the team's draft strategy as well as the shape of the first round.

He obviously fills a big need for the team, but there's the little matter of his off-field life. The NFL is investigating Hardy's domestic violence incident, which was dismissed in court, but is still subject to league discipline under the personal conduct policy. He's going to be suspended in what will be a pretty important test case for the new policy.

And then there's this ...


Sourdough sadness - In case you haven't heard, the 49ers are kind of a mess right now. Jed York was questioned about the team's offseason so far and the falling out with Jim Harbaugh on Bloomberg TV on Wednesday. It's not all bad news for the Niners. NaVorro Bowman is looking healthy and shared his unusual workout routine on Instagram. Still, it's been a tough month for the team and their fans, so please remember to be nice to that 49ers fan in your life.

They shoot horses, don't they? - The Broncos have been sitting on top of the AFC West since signing Peyton Manning in 2012. It's actually been four straight years that they've led the division, since you have to count the Tebow year in 2011. But the Chargers and the Chiefs got better in free agency, and now we have to wonder if it will be enough.

Old cheese - Speaking of one team's dominance in its division, the Lions and Vikings, and to a lesser extent the Bears, would really like a shot at dethroning the Packers. Green Bay still has Aaron Rodgers, so that's not going to be easy, but the Vikings are an up-and-coming team right now with an underrated defense. The Lions will look a lot different without Suh and Fairley on the defensive line, but they brought in able reinforcements. The Bears still have Jay Cutler, so ha ha, forget it.