“According to multiple league sources, some momentum did build for a Hardy return in the days after his legal situation was cleared up,” Voth writes. “But, sources say, that slim possibility quickly cooled and eventually ended last week.”
As Voth said, Hardy reportedly had support from teammates and HC Ron Rivera about returning to the team next season, but it sounds like owner Jerry Richardson and GM Dave Gettleman have decided it’s best for them to move on and allow Hardy to test the open market.
Recent reports have said that Hardy will seek immediate reinstatement from the NFL following the Adrian Peterson ruling. Although, others have said that Hardy and his reps are using “faulty logic” comparing to the two cases, seeing as he has yet to be suspended.
It’s worth mentioning that Jason Cole reported a few weeks ago that the NFL is going to do everything they can to ensure that Hardy will serve some form of a suspension stemming from his domestic abuse case.
Hardy and his representation would obviously like to get this situation settled and behind them around March 5, which would give them a few days to prepare for the start of free agency.
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.
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 Hardy listed as the No. 8 player in our Top 100 Free Agents list.