Carolina Panthers defensive end Greg Hardy (76) on the field prior to the 2013 NFC divisional playoff football game at Bank of America Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports

Greg Hardy wants more money than Charles Johnson got?

The Carolina Panthers have one of the NFL’s nastiest front sevens with Thomas Davis, Luke Kuechly, Greg Hardy, Charles Johnson, Star Lotulelei, and Kawann Short wreaking havoc on offensive lines and backfields alike. That group could take a big hit this offseason if the Panthers cannot keep “The Kraken”, who is a prime candidate for the franchise tag due to his value and expected cost. Panthers fans are familiar with tagging high-priced defensive ends, and they can only hope that this star DE decides to stay in Charlotte for the long haul.

According to the Charlotte Observer’s Joe Person, Greg Hardy would like to receive a bigger contract than the one Johnson received during the lockout-shortened offseason a few years ago. Johnson has been one of the best and most consistent pass rushers in the game, and he was given a six-year,$78 million deal. Hardy will also be paid handsomely this offseason, and the fact that he wants more money than Johnson is worrisome but also not surprising.

Not only do free agents become more expensive each year, but a convincing argument can be made that Hardy is the better impending free agent than Johnson was. Although Hardy doesn’t put pressure on the QB as consistently as Johnson does, he also generates more sacks and is much better in run defense; there are very little players in this league who rush the passer and play the run as well as the 25-year-old does.

I’m sure the Panthers would love to keep Hardy, and they will probably be forced to tag him. They simply don’t have the cap flexibility to commit a large amount of money to Hardy, who will almost certainly command a monster deal and seems dead-set on hitting the free agent market. A hometown discount? That most likely won’t be close to enough. Call me cynical, but I don’t think Hardy will be back in Carolina on a long-term deal. Not only do they have a whole lot of money tied up in Johnson, but Dave Gettleman- thank goodness- isn’t as trigger-happy as Marty Hurney was with big contracts. Hopefully the Panthers can keep Hardy around, but I wouldn’t get my hopes up.

Tags: Carolina Panthers Charles Johnson Greg Hardy

  • Beth

    They would be CRAZY to let him go!!! I would let Ginn, La Fell and the kicker go first.

    • ahrcshaw

      They could be crazy to pay him 13 million or more as well. Johnson and others were given a raise by another management team, Some players have already revised their contracts to get under the Cap so others could be added to the team. I do not think Mr G nor Coach Rivera will take a chance on upsetting the whole team by giving Hardy all the funds in the bank. I’d like to keep him as well, but just like Peppers this would create a land slide as everyone thinks they are worth more. Plus you have Cam, Keuchley, two new DT’s, coming along, NO ?Way would I give him that much money. What I think will happen is Mr G will get a good good Elder TE from the Giants and bring his younger guys along and not miss a heart beat with Hardy gone. This team has the young LB Kline??? who can Blitz, and others On the Job training.

    • ahrcshaw

      LaFell, no question, Ginn at 2 million is a steal, the kicker would not get more then 3 million, and that makes a lot more sense then giving Hardy 13 million. what needs to be done is Re work Johnson’s if possible and also Stewart and Williams. No question they will re sight Gross. In order to have a SB team they will have to Split the wealth to the good good players, but Hardy is expendable at this time if he is trying to break the bank.

  • ahrcshaw

    I do not think Mr G nor Coach Rivera is willing to jeopardize the comradely of the team at this point in their building stage. Mr G’s first priority is Cam, Keuchley, the two young DT’s, and an 21 team free agents as well as new draft picks. The Front 7 would be fine with adding a good elder TE, like the one from the Giants that had 11 sacks last year but is being replaced, then letting the young guns develop. This also give Mr G the opportunity to draft some good OT’s, WR’s, and CB’s to develope while still having a top rated D.

    • Joe Soriano

      Since there are so many DEs that could hit the open market, I wonder if playing “moneyball” and going for a still-solid DE who isn’t as big of a name is the best idea for the Panthers. I mean, they already have a top-level guy in Charles Johnson.

      • ahrcshaw

        Exactly my point, what makes things difficult at this point for MrG and Rivera is having all those 21 Free agents some of which did well with the Panthers although they were not super. I feel confident Mr G and Rivera have that figured out, its just a matter of getting all the pieces put back in place. A LaFell here a Ginn there, a punter here etal. As it stands now there is Hardy finishing out the front 7. two safeties, corners, on D, and Gross, and WR’s on O, that is a lot of pieces still out of the puzzle. Unfortunately Hardy just puts a an extra large cramp into that puzzle that just is not worth it at this point.