ESPN.com’s David Newton deems it likely that defensive end Greg Hardy will return to the Panthers, estimating the likelihood of a reunion at 67%. While a long-term contract would seem to be the in the best interests of both the team and the player, the franchise tag (at around $12MM) might be the most plausible option at this point. We noted yesterday that Hardy may not be re-signed due to financial constraints.
Meanwhile, other news abounds in the NFC South:
- Within the same article, Newton notes that safety Charles Godfrey might be saved from being a cap casualty due to simple finances. Cutting Godfrey would leave the Panthers with $5MM in dead money, and, obviously, without Godfrey. A contract restructure could be the more likely result.
- Newton writes that corners Josh Norman and Josh Thomas, each of whom were frequently inactive, could be released.
- Offensive tackle Jordan Gross is expected back with the team, although the Panthers could draft a future replacement in the early rounds of the draft.
- Back on the Hardy front, Pat Yasinkas of ESPN.com does not believe the Buccaneers are a realistic landing spot for the defensive end. While they have cap space, it may not be enough to sign a star like Hardy, so the draft might be a better route for adding pass rushers.
- The Saints will likely attempt to add a veteran corner through free agency, and a young receiver through the draft, according to Mike Triplett of ESPN.com.
- Triplett also notes that while the Saints won’t add players with the specific intention of transforming to a more traditional 3-4-style defense, their most pressing need remains the front seven.