Carolina Panthers defensive end Greg Hardy remains on the commissioner's exempt list following his meeting with NFL officials on Wednesday, but the soon-to-be free agent will still be allowed to ink a new deal despite his status on the list. Per the Charlotte Observer's Joseph Person, league spokesman Brian McCarthy said that there is nothing that prohibits a player on the exempt list from signing a contract with a team.
Although Hardy's free agent status is now much clearer, his playing status remains in limbo. He has yet to be disciplined by the NFL, and could still face a potential multi-game suspension next season under the provisions of the league's revised personal conduct policy. Hardy is not allowed to play while on the exempt list, which further complicates his free agent situation. However, according to Person, the NFL said that it hopes to have a resolution before free agency begins March 10 at 4 p.m. ET.
Hardy's case was dismissed last month when the accuser failed to show up at the proceedings, although he reportedly reached a civil settlement with her outside of court. The NFL did not remove Hardy from the exempt list after the charges were dropped because the league is still pursuing its own investigation into the alleged domestic violence incident.
The 26-year-old played in just one game last season but remains one of the league's elite pass rushers and is in the prime of his career. Hardy earned a Pro Bowl nod in 2013 after matching a franchise record with 15 sacks, third-most in the NFL. He also had 82 total pressures and was rated by Pro Football Focus as the league's second-best 4-3 defensive end two seasons ago.