Coley Harvey of ESPN agrees that the Bengals signing Hardy “makes too much sense” given that they produced just 20 sacks in all of 2014.
On top of that, Pro Football Focus has Cincinnati rated as the worst pass-rushing team in the NFL by a huge margin.
Hardy excels in this department and would seemingly be a perfect addition to the Bengals’ defensive line.
However, Harvey writes that character concerns and a possible suspension stemming from his involvement in a domestic violence incident are reason enough for the Bengals to think twice about signing him to a contract.
“With the uncertainty around Hardy there is no reason for the Bengals to take the risk on the 26-year-old lineman,” writes Harvey.
Hardy, 26, will be an unrestricted free agent for the second straight season. Last year, the Panthers used their franchise tag on the defensive end, which paid him a salary of $13.116 million for the 2014 season.
To use the designation on Hardy for the second straight season, it would cost the Panthers close to $15.7 million guaranteed, so there appears to be a very good chance that he’ll be fielding offers from prospective teams in the next few weeks.
Hardy wound up appearing in just one game and recorded four tackles, one sack, and a forced fumble before he was placed on the commissioners expect list.
We have Hard listed as the No. 7 player in our Top 75 Free Agents list.