The domestic violence charges against Panthers defensive end Greg Hardy were dismissed in court earlier today, but for now, that doesn’t do anything to change his NFL status. The league confirmed that Hardy remains on the commissioner’s exempt list as the NFL completes its own review of his case, and the Panthers said this afternoon (via Twitter) that they’re essentially following the league’s lead.
“We are aware of the decision by the district attorney’s office to dismiss charges against Greg Hardy,” the team’s statement read. “Greg remains on the commissioner’s exempt list and the NFL has advised us to allow it to complete its review under the personal conduct policy. There is no change in his status at this time.”
Here are the latest updates and rumors on Hardy, in the wake of the conclusion of his legal case:
- Even though the charges against Hardy were dismissed, Joseph Person of the Charlotte Observer tweets that people around the Panthers he has spoken to don’t expect the defensive end to return to the team for next season.
- As we saw with Adrian Peterson, the league won’t consider Hardy’s paid leave in 2014 a form of punishment, writes Mike Garafolo of Fox Sports. Garafolo believes that the NFL could still come down hard on the standout pass rusher — even though Nicole Holder disappeared prior to this case, the league could still point to the previous guilty verdict, Holder’s previous testimony, and an apparent civil settlement between Hardy and Holder as the basis for discipline. In fact, Garafolo wouldn’t be surprised if Hardy receives a suspension of more than six games, given some of the extenuating circumstances in the case, such as the weapons allegedly involved.
- Jason Cole of Bleacher Report, on the other hand, suggests that the NFL is “extremely unlikely” to punish Hardy further, though he thinks the league will find out as much as it can about Hardy’s alleged settlement with Holder. Cole is bullish on Hardy’s prospects in free agency, indicating that there will be five to eight teams interested if the 26-year-old reaches the open market, and predicting that he could make $15-20MM in guaranteed money. Cole adds that Panthers head coach Ron Rivera still has interest in bringing back Hardy.
- While Rivera may try to pitch the front office and ownership on the idea of re-signing Hardy, don’t expect owner Jerry Richardson to seriously entertain the idea, says David Newton of ESPN.com.