The Carolina Panthers applied their franchise tag to defensive end Greg Hardy last week. Now, the Panthers’ 2013 sack leader has signed the franchise tender, which we now know will pay Hardy $13.116 million for the 2014 season. The benefit for Carolina here is that Hardy can’t hold out in training camp for a long-term deal without incurring a $30,000 penalty per day. By signing it, Hardy has prevented Carolina from rescinding the tag, which is uncommon but not heard of.
The Panthers are now locked into a $13.116 million cap hit, which leaves them with approximately $8.6 million left to spend. That could change if general manager Dave Gettleman can convince defensive end Charles Johnson to restructure his contract, as he’s set to have a $16.4 million cap hit this season, the most on the team. If Johnson doesn’t restructure, the Panthers will have close to $30 million put into two defensive ends this season. That’s close to a quarter of their salary cap.