Agent for Greg Hardy approaches Panthers about contract extension
The agent for Panthers defensive end Greg Hardy has approached team officials about a contract extension before Hardy enters the final year of his rookie deal.
Hardy, 24, had a breakout season in 2012 when he finished with 11 sacks, 23 quarterback pressures and two forced fumbles. Hardy, a sixth-round pick from Ole Miss in 2010, is set to make $1.35 million this season after hitting his salary escalators in 2012.
Drew Rosenhaus, Hardy's agent, recently initiated contract talks with the Panthers, according to a league source with knowledge of the situation.
The Panthers handed out a number of huge contracts two years ago to lock up several members of what ex-general manager Marty Hurney called the team's “core.”
Defensive end Charles Johnson received the richest deal in franchise history – a six-year, $76 million extension that included $32 million in guaranteed money.
The spending spree has put the Panthers in bad salary cap position for the next several years. They're currently about $3 million under this year's $123 million cap.
A crowded field of free agent defensive ends has made for a soft market this year. Former Baltimore DE Paul Kruger signed a reported five-year, $41 million contract with Cleveland that includes $20 million in guarantees, while Cliff Avril went to Seattle for two years and $15 million.
Next year's free agent class of defensive ends also includes several established players, including Jared Allen, Justin Tuck and Michael Johnson.
Besides Hardy, the only other potential free agent of note for the Panthers in 2014 is WR Brandon LaFell.