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Panthers have a tough decision to make with Greg Hardy

Hardy Getty Images

The Panthers want to keep the player known as the Kraken.  Figuring out the numbers could be harder than blocking him.

After musing about a hometown discount, defensive end Greg Hardy said he wants a “big number.”  Three years ago, Charles Johnson received a “big number” — $76 million over six years.  If that’s the “big number” Hardy has in mind, that could be a problem.

Joseph Person of the Charlotte Observer looks at the Panthers’ options, which are limited.  They can negotiate a long-term deal with Hardy, use the one-year franchise tag to keep him around for at least one more season, or let him hit the market and possibly leave.

The fourth option, in our view, would be to apply the franchise tag and try to trade him, like the Chiefs did last year with tackle Branden Albert.  That would allow the Panthers to get something more than a compensatory draft pick in 2015, if he ultimately exits the organization.

Despite the magnitude of the contract paid to Johnson is 2011, it’s hard to say whether Hardy would generate that kind of interest on the open market.  Last year, Cliff Avril ultimately received a two-year, $15 million contract from Seattle — a far cry from the “big number” he surely envisioned.

The problem for the Panthers is that, with Johnson already making that much, how could Hardy take less?  That’s why it wouldn’t be a shock if the Panthers approach Johnson about re-doing a deal that has a $16 million cap number and a $9.75 million base salary in 2014.  Per a league source, the Panthers have not yet broached the topic with Johnson.

Every team has a budget that applies to each position on the field, and the Panthers may have blown the defensive end line item on Johnson.  Moreover, the team has other guys it wants to keep, from quarterback Cam Newton to linebacker Luke Kuechly (after 2015) to defensive tackle Star Lotulelei (after 2016).

So they may have to simply let Hardy walk — unless they’re willing to tell Johnson to take a hike.

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50 Responses to “Panthers have a tough decision to make with Greg Hardy”
  1. demolition510 says: Feb 18, 2014 1:56 PM

    Come to Oakland

  2. souldogdave says: Feb 18, 2014 1:57 PM

    Welcome to the Raiders.

  3. thepftpoet says: Feb 18, 2014 1:58 PM

    He will join the Vikings at a discounted price for a chance to win a superbowl ring.

  4. imbetteratlifethanyou says: Feb 18, 2014 2:06 PM

    Dude should sign with Carolina. It’s a playoff team that is on the rise. Things could be WAY worse like him playing for the vikings. They haven’t been to a Super Bowl in 37 years and lose 10 games EVERY year.

  5. thevikesarebest says: Feb 18, 2014 2:08 PM

    Overrated team.they are like classy version of the shehawks and both will be crushed by the VI KING DYNASTY next season.S K O L

  6. justintuckrule says: Feb 18, 2014 2:08 PM

    If the contract being called a $150M contract will soothe Hardy’s ego, that’s what Carolina should do. Anyone with a half a brain knows the big number don’t mean squat anyway. It’s all about the guaranteed $$$. These are the numbers I want to hear about.

  7. porkcarrot says: Feb 18, 2014 2:10 PM

    The thought of losing Johnson for Hardy scares the hell out of me. Hardy is great at rushing the qb, but Johnson is very good at rushing the qb and also great at stopping the run. He is simply a better all around player.

    Also, I won’t go so far as to call Hardy a head case, but he has some eccentricities, and it may not be a great idea to commit to him long term.

  8. hotzy21 says: Feb 18, 2014 2:12 PM

    the Vikes are not one of the premier franchises in the NFL, but they do not lose 10 games a year, they have more playoff appearances in the last 15 years than a lot of franchises have in their HISTORY. They have played in NFC championship games, have displayed some of the best players in the NFL, and have given their fans a lot to love over the years. yes, no super bowl appearances in forever and no SB wins, but a heck of a lot more than some franchises (lions/browns/raiders)

  9. floratiotime says: Feb 18, 2014 2:12 PM

    This is what happens when you overpay. Everyone expects the same number. Bad management.

  10. ydousuk says: Feb 18, 2014 2:14 PM

    He can come to Seattle at a discount, like Avril, and win a ring.

  11. therealraider says: Feb 18, 2014 2:14 PM

    I’d like Hardy in Silver and Black, But not at some whack contract like 76 mil.

  12. sandersmarcus10 says: Feb 18, 2014 2:19 PM

    I think if teams approach this situation with we are going to spend this much on the WHOLE DT postions or LBs, or QBs then you dont give ONE guy a crazy number and have to go back and ask him to take a pay cut. For example If your teams says we are paying our 3 or 2 QB as a whole of 15 MIL, the starter 12 Mil a year, backup 2 Mil and 3rd guy 1 Mil or 13 for starter and 2 for backup with 2 QBs.

  13. thestrategyexpert says: Feb 18, 2014 2:20 PM

    They could also move on from Steve Smith who has some sizable contract sizes in future years. They can afford to keep both Charles Johnson and Greg Hardy if they want to.

  14. sportsmeccabi says: Feb 18, 2014 2:24 PM

    If Carolinacould get deangelo’s and Stewart’s awful contract off the books, we could afford to keep him plus some.

    Might be a good idea to tag him, trade or let him walk next year. Cam and Kuechly’s deals have to come first.

  15. tatatoothy says: Feb 18, 2014 2:25 PM

    What is their budget for running backs?

  16. imbetteratlifethanyou says: Feb 18, 2014 2:25 PM

    Ha ha ha ha ha. Did you say vikings and Super Bowl in the same sentence? Haaa haaa haaa haaa haa haaaaaa – Oh, that’s hilarious.

  17. yankeedudedandy says: Feb 18, 2014 2:28 PM

    Sign him to 1yr franchise tender then “release the kraken”!

  18. justintuckrule says: Feb 18, 2014 2:38 PM

    They should bend some desperate team over for two 1s and two 2s for Cam Newton. That dude will NEVER win a SB. He doesn’t have the makeup for it and signing him to a $100M contract will SINK that franchise….watch. Trading that slug will give Carolina plenty of cap room and picks necessary to find a real franchise qb. Heck…trade him to the Rams, draft Johnny Football or Bridgewater….take advantage of 4 years of a rookie QB contract….spend the money on your defense and another WR…..win 2 SBs in the process like Seattle.

  19. corkspop says: Feb 18, 2014 2:41 PM

    Someone has to go. But, please not Hardy! The team may lose a popular player or two but this is the type of guy you can build a defense around. Trade him….. to avoid getting even less? Dumb idea.

  20. shaggytoodle says: Feb 18, 2014 2:43 PM

    When did the Vikings get knocked out of the playoffs?

    If I recall correctly most people refer to it as Halloween.

    They could have had Fairley, or Cameron Jordan in the first, and still picked up Ponder, or any of the other QBs, that are far better than him like Kaep or Dalton in the 2nd.

    That GM is a Magician all right.

  21. thebirdofprey2 says: Feb 18, 2014 2:49 PM

    Panthers have the best front 7 in football. Greg Hardy and Charles Johnson together create such a problem because you can’t slide protection either way.

    I read some thing about Johnson’s contract but they are spending big money on 3 running backs. 1 that hasn’t been healthy for going onto 3 years.

  22. mvp43 says: Feb 18, 2014 2:50 PM

    If he wants a Superbowl ring, Minnesota and Oakland are out of the equation. I’d stay in Carolina even at a slightly reduced rate.

  23. guvsta says: Feb 18, 2014 3:07 PM

    One of your suggestions is to put the franchise tag on him and trade him like the Chiefs did with Albert? FYI Albert played for the Chiefs last year!!!

  24. guvsta says: Feb 18, 2014 3:08 PM

    My bad- sentence read ‘tried’ to trade him.

  25. keltictim says: Feb 18, 2014 3:09 PM

    Why in the world do players even care about the overall number of a contract? Who cares if it says 100 mil on paper? News flash, you’ll never see 100 mill. The first 2-3 years are all that matters, that and whatever amount they actually guarantee. Beyond that the numbers are a waste of ink. Who was the last player to sign a big contract and play it out till the end?

  26. schmitty2 says: Feb 18, 2014 3:20 PM

    If the Panther FO sticks to form they will sign him to a huge contract that he probably doesn’t deserve (See Deangelo Williams and Jonathan Stewart). No doubt he is an elite pass rusher but they can’t sign them to a contract that could ultimately hinder extensions for Newton and Kuechly IMO.

  27. doctorrustbelt says: Feb 18, 2014 3:21 PM

    While Greg Hardy isn’t juicing to the level that Julius Peppers was in Carolina… Hardy is DEFINITELY spending some big money on gear.

  28. packerfanfornot4life says: Feb 18, 2014 3:23 PM

    He will join the Vikings at a discounted price for a chance to win a superbowl ring

    how?? is he gonna steal it from Greg Jennings???

  29. robertocfg says: Feb 18, 2014 3:39 PM

    Honest question: When was the last time a free agent in “show me the money” mode went to a new team and actually played up to the level his salary implied?

  30. drsportsjock says: Feb 18, 2014 3:51 PM

    I guess you could say it’s a…

    (•_•)

    ( •_•)>⌐■-■

    (⌐■_■)

    Hardy decision

  31. oldcracker says: Feb 18, 2014 3:52 PM

    I’d like to see some sort of deal with the Texans for their #1, and other considerations. Use #1 to draft Clowney and take advantage of his rookie pay. In 4-5 years when Clowney’s ready for his Payday, move Johnson. Nice balance of vets & rookies.

    Use the “other considerations” to move up in the first round, take a good, albeit, raw WR (FSU-Benjamin?) to develope.

    For the Texans, Hardy nicely compliments Watts. (Yikes!) They can still pick up one of the better second-tier QB’s.

    Maybe, Manziel – Minnesota (via trade up), Bortles – Jacksonville, Bridgewater – Cleveland, Carr – Oakland, or something like that. In any case, it still leaves some decent QB’s for Houston.

  32. jermainewiggins says: Feb 18, 2014 4:27 PM

    Seahawk fans should try to act like russel wilson when it comes to their sb win and try not to act like richard sherman. #ustayclasslessseattle

  33. greenbaypackersowner says: Feb 18, 2014 4:30 PM

    I’ll sign him to play for the Packers. I can do that…..I’m an owner!

  34. holdmadik24 says: Feb 18, 2014 4:51 PM

    What the hell is going on in Minnesota lately?! Has there been a crazy crack epidemic??

  35. pantherpro says: Feb 18, 2014 5:27 PM

    The 3-13 Oakland Raiders? I’d rather sign in the CFL

    Greg Hardy

  36. cadan24 says: Feb 18, 2014 5:52 PM

    Here is what they should do…

    -Sign Hardy long term

    – release Stewart and Williams to take all cap hits now

    – Draft Carlos Hyde / Tre Mason

    – Sign veteran RB at bargain deal (Donald Brown / Andre Brown)

  37. dieselguy19 says: Feb 18, 2014 6:07 PM

    The Raiders?!LMAO That’s where people go past their prime to die as we all know and this guy is still in his prime so that’s not gonna happen. Go rob another bank, or grafitti another buliding Raiders fans.

  38. bamboozle99 says: Feb 18, 2014 6:28 PM

    Damn that man has big arms.

  39. jprcox says: Feb 18, 2014 6:46 PM

    No one is going to pay him anything close to 76 mil. I really think that day has come and gone, since teams know its not worth to place all your eggs in a single basket.

    Players coming from NCAA are better and better – and they come cheap.

  40. crise40g says: Feb 18, 2014 7:31 PM

    Houston, Clowney, AND The Kraken in S&B?

    With over 60 mil in cap space and a top 5 pick, it could happen.

  41. Shinnbone says: Feb 18, 2014 7:34 PM

    OK this is where the healing begins.

  42. pantherpro says: Feb 18, 2014 7:55 PM

    Raider trash!

  43. sikoix says: Feb 18, 2014 8:50 PM

    It’s amazing how many people respond to the same troll tactics over and over and over (RE: Vikings most recently, before that Redskins, Steelers, etc).

    And for the record, the Vikings don’t “lose 10 games per season”. They are one of the more consistently competitive teams in the league over the past 50 years — just no Super Bowl wins (1 NFL championship), and no pending Super Bowl victories that seem obvious.

  44. skolvikings58 says: Feb 18, 2014 10:05 PM

    These people posting as “Vikings” Fans are obviously not from Minnesota, they are way too aggressive to be Minnesotan. All real Minnesotans are passive aggressive, duh everyone knows that. Any how, i’d like him at MN, or Micheal Johnson as Everson Griffen isn’t exactly consistent. The Vikes are a good 4 years off from being a Playoff team in this state, until they get a good Qb, and some LB’s and Cb’s worth a damn.
    – Skol

  45. raiderrob21 says: Feb 19, 2014 12:14 AM

    Greg Hardy, Alex Mack, MJD/Ben Tate for starters. Then We’ll add a few more. Resigning Veldheer is top priority.

    RAIDER NATION!!!!!!

  46. shaggytoodle says: Feb 19, 2014 2:03 AM

    Sikoix

    The Bills have been competitive over the few decades too, and don’t have a SB to show for it off the to of my head, but they still have a ways to go to make the playoffs.

    Its a what have you done lately, and over the course of the past four seasons the Vikings have lost 40 games.

    Be careful when you make reaches like that, that’s how guys like Ponder get drafted in the first 15 picks.

  47. johnclaytonsponytail says: Feb 19, 2014 2:24 AM

    Sign him to a huge contract and give Cam 1oo mill. Hes your future.

    Signed,

    Saints fans

  48. Phil says: Feb 19, 2014 6:48 AM

    I love some of these proposed trades coming from Carolina fans. 2 1st round picks and 2 second round picks? The first overall pick? hahahaha

  49. jgedgar70 says: Feb 19, 2014 9:35 AM

    schmitty2 says:
    Feb 18, 2014 3:20 PM
    If the Panther FO sticks to form they will sign him to a huge contract that he probably doesn’t deserve (See Deangelo Williams and Jonathan Stewart). No doubt he is an elite pass rusher but they can’t sign them to a contract that could ultimately hinder extensions for Newton and Kuechly IMO.
    _____
    This is a new FO. The deals you reference were negotiated by old GM Marty Hurney, AKA the newspaper reporter turned GM. In his first year as GM, Dave Gettleman renegotiated several deals, and traded a popular but often-injured player. Expect him to do the same this year. Johnson, Stewart and Williams are all prime restructure candidates, and Smith may be also. Get them to more cap-friendly numbers and Hardy can get a new deal and Cam can get an extension, with enough money left to sign the draft picks and some of the other free agents.

  50. jgedgar70 says: Feb 19, 2014 9:41 AM

    I wouldn’t put too much stock in Hardy’s comments. This guy is clinically insane. Remember that this is the same guy who took a pic of his speedometer while he was driving 100 mph and who called the Falcons kicker “so small and weird-shaped.”

    The X factor in all of this is what Florio said in his weekly appearance on Charlotte sports talk radio this morning – that Hardy and Charles Johnson are both represented by Rosenhaus. That could be a good thing, if Gettleman can talk Rosenhaus into re-negotiating Johnson’s contract down to the number they want to give Hardy. It could also be a bad thing, if they sign Hardy and it has a different number than Johnson, whoever has less might be angry and not get along with the guy who ends up with more.

    One thing we Panther fans can be assured of – we will not get bored this offseason.

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