Carolina Panthers defensive end Greg Hardy is discussing a long-term contract extension with the team, according to the Charlotte Observer. Hardy is currently entering the last year of his rookie contract.
Hardy's agent, Drew Rosenhaus, has been in talks for awhile on behalf of his client with Panthers general manager Dave Gettleman. Gettleman has the team approximately $12 million under the salary cap ceiling so, If the two sides can't agree, Carolina could always use the franchise tag to keep Hardy around for another year at $11.1 million.
Hardy entered the league in 2010 as a sixth-round pick out of Mississippi, breaking out last year with 11 sacks. Prior to that, Hardy had registered seven sacks for Carolina combined in his first two campaigns. On the other side of the Panthers defensive line is Charles Johnson, a player they signed in 2011 to a six-year, $76 million extension with $32 million in guarantees.
It's hard to imagine the team doling out that type of money for another player at the same position, Rosenhaus will likely try to use Johnson as leverage.
In 2012, Hardy became one of the better pass-rushers in the sport. As evidenced by Pro Football Focus, Hardy was almost unstoppable when rushing toward the inside. He recorded a pressure 56.3 percent of the time in those situations, trailing only Aldon Smith and Bruce Irvin.
Over at Cat Scratch Reader, James Dator is a fan of Hardy, but doesn't want to see the franchise sign him long-term yet:
It's nice to see the sides working on a new deal, but for the sake of the organization they should wait until much later in the year. Extending a player for one solid year of performance is a play right out of Marty Hurney's manual.
The Panthers begin their regular season on September 8 at home against the Seattle Seahawks.