The Carolina Panthers and superstar defensive end Greg Hardy haven’t started contract negotiations yet, but it would honestly be a surprise if “The Kraken” wasn’t still in Charlotte next season. One of the best defensive ends in the NFL, Hardy excels as both a pass rusher and a run defender, and he and Charles Johnson form one of the league’s elite defensive end duos. While Johnson does a better job of putting consistent pressure on the quarterback, Hardy is better in run defense and is also even better than Johnson at finishing off plays.
Although Hardy really seems to want to stay in Carolina long-term, the Panthers might have to let him walk in free agency and sign a massive contract with another team. Dave Gettleman’s hands are tied, as he inherited Marty Hurney’s cap mess last offseason and has very little funds to work with. Hardy is an obvious priority, but it’s clear that he will demand top dollar. And while he’s cool with the franchise tag, paying $12 million to him for one season isn’t actually too attractive to the Panthers either; the tag looks like a total last-resort option.
According to the NFL Network’s Dan Hanzus, Greg Hardy said, “Give me a phone call and offer me a crapload of money. That’s all. Nothing too serious.”
Some people might take this the wrong way, but it’s obvious that Hardy deserves “a crapload of money” and would get a large sum of cash from teams on the free agent market. Just about everyone covets a pass rusher like him, and his run defense sets him apart from several of the other great ends in this league.