The idea that Greg Hardy wouldn't be given a longterm deal seemed clear
once he was franchised.
But the thing I don't fully understand, however, is why franchise him in
the first place?
Is the team looking at 2014 as a make or break year? I doubt it, as
2013 bought them time and they're as likely to have cap issues now as
they will in two years. So why pay Hardy $13 million?
I guess there's the remaining ideal that he can be signed next year, and
that's essentially what they're buying for $13 million. Time. Next
year, it appears, they'll be choosing from the "potentially cuttable but
probably living up to his contract" stylings of Charles Johnson, or the
younger, less stable but higher upside Hardy. To further that, as I did
the math earlier today, Johnson's deal makes him not only cuttable, but
worth re-signing if desired, since most of his bonus proration ends
after the '15 season.
Of course, over time, more things have pushed Hardy to be less likely to
get that deal this season. Drafting Kony Ealy makes it roughly $10
million cheaper to field a right end, and Kony isn't on trial for
assault concurrent with the writing of this article (his former
girlfriend is apparently testifying right now).
The team could go without either, or phase out Johnson a year or two
after Hardy by not altering his contract and allowing him to walk after
'15, too. No clue. The lack of certainty is concerning to me, but with
the interior defense that Carolina has, down the road having neither but
including Ealy and possibly a speedier rusher? They'll be OK with that.