Carolina has their second man under contract, in theory, with Greg Hardy
signing the franchise tag he received Monday.
By doing so, Hardy doesn't give up the right to negotiate a long term
deal, but it does more or less ensure he'll be a Carolina Panther.
Essentially a one year, $13.1 million deal, the franchise tender is a
contract offer. Many players don't sign it, which allows them to go
through the franchise process - you can negotiate with other teams, you
can negotiate with your own team, you can negotiate trades. You have
all the leverage.
Hardy can still technically be traded, but it would require a team to
take on the one year, $13.1 million deal. Hardy signing the deal
ensures he gets it (they could just outright release him, but that's
rare, and foolish) this year, and in a way is a good-faith move to make
sure he's able to only really negotiate with Carolina. He's said he'd
prefer to stay - though he's said a lot of things both in football and
outside football that make no sense, too.
It has no cap impact, really, in that the team assumes the franchise
cost aganist the cap whether it's signed or not.
I have to hope that Hardy wouldn't be signing for an annual $13 million
average, but even if so, a modest amount of short term cap relief would
come in the natural escalation of a contract, where he wouldn't likely
count $13 million against the cap on a long term deal.
To be honest, I'm still a little surprised Hardy was franchised; I know
they wanted him, but I assumed the price would simply be too high and
that money would go to various other places. Carolina's choosing, as
they've said, to keep their strengths strong. I just hope they don't
struggle too hard in filling their weaknesses.