Greg Hardy’s arrest leaves the Panthers with scant options


While it’s barely 24 hours after Greg Hardy’s arrest on domestic violence charges — which include allegations of a large stash of guns in his apartment — it’s becoming clear the Panthers are in a tough spot from a football standpoint.

The defensive end signed his franchise tender shortly after it was given, guaranteeing his $13.1 million salary for the coming season.

That alone makes it unlikely they’d simply cut him, since that would drag their salary cap down like an anchor (such that it doesn’t already, with him and Charles Johnson chewing up more than 20 percent of their cap).

The Panthers would be get a credit back against the cap if he were suspended by the league for a number of games, and as history has shown, it doesn’t take a conviction to bring a punishment under the league’s conduct policy. And they could argue that a conviction would be a default of the contract, and try to get the money back, but that would be months down the road.

Another option — and again, it’s very early in this process — would be a trade.

Drafting Missouri defensive end Kony Ealy in the second round last week, when he wasn’t as big of a need, gives them the flexibility to move Hardy if need be. Owner Jerry Richardson traditionally takes a dim view of any charges involving violence toward women, so it can’t be ruled out at this point. Former second-round tackle Chris Terry was released after he failed to appear in court following an arrest for a domestic dispute with his wife in 2002.

A trade comes with plenty of hurdles too. Since Hardy’s hefty cap charge would transfer to another team, you’d think any deal would also be contingent on some degree of contract extension. And as tough as trading for an accused committer of domestic violence would be, giving him a contract extension would be a hard sell to that team’s fan base.

But it’s also a pragmatic league, and it’s hard to imagine there’s not a team willing to part with a future pick for a guy with 26.0 sacks the last two seasons.

There are 10 teams with enough cap space to do a deal immediately, but nothing about this case indicates a resolution is coming soon.

At the moment, the process will roll on, through the court system and the NFL’s own review, and the Panthers are forced to wait and wonder how much they’ll actually get from their franchise player this year.

52 responses to “Greg Hardy’s arrest leaves the Panthers with scant options

  1. when i was little i LOVED football, and as an adult i love football. as a teenager, not so much, and i’m starting to believe it had a lot to do with the fact that as a teenager i was forced to actually interact with football players as human beings. there are some awesome and charitable athletes in the NFL, but there are at least as many violent jerks.

  2. Ya, I’m sure teams are lining up for a guy who was just arrested and has a high cap hit. I hear teams are looking for Lawrence Phillips too.

  3. It’s unfortunate that so many industries still put profit ahead of character.

    Recommendation to the NFL: Change the Default language in the contracts. Give the Players Union, not the teams, the rights to pursue money owed back from players due to default.

    When a character issue arises, the player and the team are materially impacted. The risk for teams will be too high to sign contracts with low character individuals. This will quickly clean up character issues in the NFL, and make it a collection of humans that are all respectable as individuals, and as a whole.

    Not sure if it is possible, given the owners control, but something similar should happen to make it too risky to sign low character players.

  4. Panthers are falling to the bottom of the division. Can’t wait. Worst to first. This is great news for the new and improved Bucs. SCAM Newton will no longer benefit from good field position and will be exposed.

  5. It is a little screwed up that Gordon and Blackmon could miss every game this year while Hardy plays every single one.

  6. The NFL has got to take a stronger stance on domestic violence. It is absolutely absurd that a dude beats the crap out of his wife/girlfriend and gets, at most, a suspension of a few games while another guy gets a year suspension for smoking pot. Guys like this do not deserve to be a part of the NFL.

  7. Pure garbage. And why the NFL will self destruct. There have never been so many personal conduct issues in the history of the league…as long as this type of story is above the fold, the perception of the NFL will be the bottom of the barrel.

  8. Sounds like he goes out and buys a new gun for every sack. Maybe he should reward himself with something else…

  9. What a psychopath. There should be a clause in EVERY contract that if you commit a felony, the contract is void. I cannot believe that there isn’t one already.

  10. I played football in highschool. I was at best adequate as a LB I wished I had one tenth the talent these guys have and the throw it all away being stupid

  11. There should be required language in every NFL contract that a felony conviction immediately voids their contract, with suspension immediately following, from one-year to life depending on the severity of the crime.

  12. As a woman and a Panthers fan I take domestic violence very seriously but I would wait until all the facts are in before passing judgement. Is Greg possibly guilty of poor judgement, PROBABLY. But I’m not convinced of his guilt until I get more facts.

  13. The title of the post is “Greg Hardy’s arrest leaves the Panthers with scant options”

    And then you go through the multiple options including this quote,

    “Drafting Missouri defensive end Kony Ealy in the second round last week, when he wasn’t as big of a need, gives them the flexibility to move Hardy if need be.”

    Scant options include flexibility?

  14. I still say it’s time owners and coaches get penalized for their players conduct on and off the field. Maybe when these coaches and owners alike have issues with misconduct by a player and get fined themselves they would tolerate less of this stupid stuff. And the player will also realize that not only is he going to get fines or suspended but his team will pay the price also. When the team owners start getting fined maybe they will not tolerate this nonsense and be a little more wise who and who doesn’t play for them. These millionaire athletes have lost total control of what reality is !!!!

  15. The NFL– the league where you can assault your girlfriends but never touch a receiver coming across the middle — good job of cleaning up the league Roger. Your plan seems to working only 2 reported domestic violence incidents this summer

  16. So what? I mean, the NFL and the Ravens have done absolutely nothing to Ray Rice. All he did was knock his fiancee, er, wife out cold in an elevator. Oh, and then drag her unconscious body around a bit.

    Maybe if these players were actually treated in a manner that corresponds with the offense, some of us fans wouldn’t be so cynical.

  17. There should be clauses in the player contracts that if they get arrested on serious felony charges such as beating a woman or having an arsenal of illegal firearms that they can be cut without penalty to the team.

    And that they can go after the player for salary paid in that given league year at the very least.

  18. Roger Goodell is only interested in minimizing players’ concussions… not those of the women who get them at the hands of his players.

  19. The NFL should also implement –

    Convicted of domestic violence ? Automatic 1 year suspension.

    Convicted a 2nd time ? Automatic 3 year suspension and good luck getting back into the league after 3 years of trying to condition yourself.

  20. They should call the Eagles, offer a 2nd and try to pry away Branden Graham. He’s not a fit for their 3/4 but he can make an impact in a 4/3 as a hands in the dirt pass rusher.

  21. Why is nobody talking about the guns more ?? There is substantial cause for a search warrant if he has so many possibly automatic assault guns !

  22. It would be hard to trade Hardy. The new CBA gives the NFLPA an independent right to veto trades of franchise tagged players. The union wants a free market for players and frowns on teams having to pay compensation to former teams for free agents. So expect a veto from the NFLPA if Carolina tries to trade Hardy.

  23. The niners will come calling any second. They have no standards when it comes to player conduct………….

    they would , but not for $11,000,000 this year.

  24. An “accusation” does not a “conviction” make people.

    In this country you are presumed to be innocent until proven guilty.

    Anybody can make an accusation – it has to be proven to make it a fact.

    And BTW…I am a woman.

  25. It’s amazing how everyone is jumping the gun and he hasn’t been convicted of anything. Is it so wrong to believe that she actually attacked him after he attempted put her out of his residence. He had a friend the with him also whom I’m sure can vouch for him. Being the reason why the friend held her down while he(Greg) himself called the police.


    they only made the playoffs last year because the falcons had a terrible year. With the offseason Carolina had and Lovie Smith amping up TB i could see this team dead last in the division this year.

  27. Again, stop to consider a few FACTS before you bloviate about how evil Hardy is.

    1) He was charged with a MISDEMEANOR, not a felony.
    2) The woman claims to be bruised and injured from head to toe. If she was beaten this badly, why didn’t her lawyer present photos to get a felony charge?
    3) Like a few others have said, whatever happened to “innocent until proven guilty?”
    4) A lot could have happened here. The police report says both of them were tore-down, sloppy drunk.

    I think both of them are lying. I think Hardy did strike her (probably did throw her against the tub and drug her out by her hair). Likewise, I think it’s possible she added a few injuries to herself (like Lynn Whitfield’s character did in “A Thin Line Between Love and Hate” to get Martin Lawrence’s character arrested).

    Regardless of what I or any of us think, let’s see what happens in court. One thing I am certain of – Hardy is not going to play all 16 games. If RG1 doesn’t suspend him, Jerry Richardson will.

  28. He should go to SF and be roommates with Aldon Smith. That would be a great reality show.

    Then in a couple years they could reprise their roles on MSNBC’s Lock Up.

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