2014 DRAFT GUIDE
Panthers use tag to keep DE Hardy; re-sign K Gano

By STEVE REED - AP Sports Writer
    2014-02-28 16:52

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) - The Panthers used the franchise tag on Greg Hardy on Friday, preventing the outspoken defensive end from hitting the free agent market.

Hardy will make $12.45 million next season.

The team also re-signed kicker Graham Gano to a four-year contract. Financial terms of that deal were not released.

Hardy, known by teammates as ''The Kraken,'' tied a franchise single-season record with 15 sacks in 2013 and was selected second-team All-Pro by The Associated Press. SportsIllustrated.com ranked Hardy as this offseason's top NFL free agent.

Hardy led the Panthers with 38 quarterback pressures and posted a career-high 67 tackles last season.

''We are very pleased that Greg will be back with the Panthers next season,'' Panthers head coach Ron Rivera said in a release. ''He was a big reason we were able to lead the league in sacks last year and keeps our defensive line intact.''

The Panthers have until July 15 to sign Hardy to a long-term contract extension. After that date they can't discuss a contract extension until after the season is over.

''The franchise mechanism gives us time to secure the services of a very good player while we continue to look at the future of Greg with the Carolina Panthers,'' Panthers general manager Dave Gettleman said in a release. ''We have had great dialogue with both Greg and his agent. It was important to keep our defensive front together.''

Hardy and Charles Johnson are the only set of teammates to record 10 or more sacks in each of the last two seasons. They have combined for 49.5 sacks during that span, tied for most in the NFL.

A former sixth-round draft pick out of Mississippi, Hardy made the league veteran minimum salary last year.

Hardy said in January he would have no problem if the Panthers used the franchise tag on him after being selected to his first Pro Bowl.

''I would love a franchise (tag), man,'' Hardy said prior to the playoffs. ''Add another year on my career. Get to play football a little bit longer without a contract. Another year to be in Carolina just to get them a chance to get their fiscal responsibilities in order so we can be here forever, like Steve Smith and a lot of other guys.''

Hardy becomes the fifth player in Panthers history to receive the franchise tag, joining punter Todd Sauerbrun (2003), tackle Jordan Gross (2008), defensive end Julius Peppers (2009) and center Ryan Kalil (2011).

Gano helps solidify the team's kicking situation.

The 26-year-old Gano is coming off a successful season, converting 24 of 27 field goal attempts while helping the team to a 12-4 record and the NFC South title.

He set a franchise record and tied for the NFL lead with six made field goals from 50 yards or more. He was the only NFL kicker with three or more attempts from 50 yards or more without a miss from that distance.

''I'm really excited to be back in Carolina,'' Gano said. ''It is where my family and I wanted to be. I love the organization and feel this is the best place for me.''

Rivera said: ''The special teams unit was a large part of our success last year and we are excited to keep Graham as a part of our team. Graham has shown range and accuracy in his field goal kicking, and his strong leg has been a weapon for us on kickoffs.''

Of his 82 kickoffs, 76 reached the end zone, including 63 for touchbacks, the highest percentage in the NFL since 1994.

A five-year NFL veteran, Gano spent his first three seasons with the Washington Redskins. He has converted 92 of 118 field goal attempts in his career.

Gano feels like he has some stability on the team, which has helped his game.

''When I was in Washington I went through four holders and that took some getting used to,'' Gano said. ''I finally got comfortable there and made my last 14 of 17 field goals. I've carried over that consistency to Carolina.''

Gano said he was celebrating the new deal by taking his son to Chic-fil-A.

---

AP NFL website: www.pro32.ap.org and http://twitter.com/AP-NFL.

Fantasy Football Player Notes RSS FeedPLAYER NOTES

Matt JonesMay 20 02:15p

Washington Redskins RB Matt Jones said that he loves the offense and has a chip on his shoulder after not being used properly while in college. 'My college career [ More ]

Derek CarrMay 20 08:53a

Updating a previous report, Oakland Raiders QB Derek Carr (finger) is experiencing numbness in his right ring finger. He hopes to avoid surgery through rest and rehab, and no [ More ]

Derek CarrMay 19 06:13p

Oakland Raiders QB Derek Carr (finger) has a right ring finger injury that could be surgically repaired. A return for training camp is still achievable, however, according to a source.

L. WashingtonMay 19 05:23p

Pittsburgh Steelers WR L'Damian Washington (undisclosed) was waived/injured Tuesday, May 19.

Shayne GrahamMay 19 03:03p

New Orleans Saints PK Shayne Graham was released Tuesday, May 19. Subsequently, free-agent WR Lance Lewis (49ers) was signed.

Joseph BarksdaleMay 19 02:23p

Free-agent OT Joseph Barksdale (Rams) will sign a one-year deal worth $350,000 with the San Diego Chargers, according to a source. The deal also comes with more than $1 million in incentives available.

Tom BradyMay 19 01:43p

New England Patriots QB Tom Brady will continue to appeal his four-game suspension, despite owner Robert Kraft saying the team will not appeal the discipline levied against them.

Jed CollinsMay 18 03:32p

Dallas Cowboys FB Jed Collins was released Monday, May 18, and FB Tyler Clutts was re-signed to an undisclosed contract.

Tyler CluttsMay 18 03:32p

Dallas Cowboys FB Jed Collins was released Monday, May 18, and FB Tyler Clutts was re-signed to an undisclosed contract.

Lache SeastrunkMay 18 02:42p

Tennessee Titans RB Lache Seastrunk was released Monday, May 18.

Jimmy GaroppoloMay 17 08:42p

New England Patriots QB Jimmy Garoppolo's quick decision making and accuracy fit well with New England's playbook that includes quick-rhythm passes as part of the foundation, and Bucky Brooks [ More ]

Zach HockerMay 17 04:42p

The New Orleans Saints have signed free-agent PK Zach Hocker (Dolphins).

Joseph RandleMay 16 07:32p

Dallas Cowboys RB Joseph Randle has the skills to lead the team's backfield in 2015 but he'll need to work on his off-field issues, according to Jon Machota of [ More ]

Matt CasselMay 15 07:52p

Buffalo Bills QB Matt Cassel is likely to enter Week 1 of the season as the team's backup quarterback, in the opinion of The Buffalo News' Vic Carucci. He [ More ]

Santana MossMay 15 07:12p

Free-agent WR Santana Moss (Redskins) is not ready to hang up his cleats and retire this offseason. 'I'm a free agent right now, you know how they do [ More ]

Robert TurbinMay 14 05:32p

Seattle Seahawks RB Robert Turbin (hip) underwent hip surgery this offseason, according to sources. No timetable was disclosed for his recovery.

Tom BradyMay 14 03:52p

New England Patriots QB Tom Brady has officially appealed his four-game suspension.

Greg SalasMay 13 02:23p

Free-agent WR Greg Salas (Jets) signed a one-year deal with the Detroit Lions Wednesday, May 13. Financial terms were not disclosed.

John ConnerMay 13 12:03p

Free-agent FB John Conner (Jets) signed with the Buffalo Bills Wednesday, May 13. FB Corey Knox was waived to make room for him.

Tom BradyMay 13 10:03a

New England Patriots QB Tom Brady's four-game suspension could be reduced significantly, and possibly overturned, a source told ESPN's Adam Schefter. Brady has put together a renowned legal team to appeal his suspension.

D.J. SwearingerMay 12 05:22p

Free-agent SS D.J. Swearinger was officially claimed by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers Tuesday, May 12.

Fred JacksonMay 12 03:13p

Buffalo Bills RB Fred Jackson may not make the final roster if the Bills end up keeping only three running backs, according to Mike Rodak of ESPN.com. RB LeSean [ More ]

Lance MooreMay 12 01:23p

Free-agent WR Lance Moore (Steelers) signed a one-year deal with the Detroit Lions.

Justin BlackmonMay 12 11:02a

Jacksonville Jaguars WR Justin Blackmon was denied reinstatement by the NFL this offseason, according to The Associated Press' Mark Long. It's unclear whether Blackmon failed a drug test or [ More ]

Joseph RandleMay 12 10:42a

Dallas Cowboys RB Joseph Randle could see the bulk of the carries as the season weighs on, in the opinion of beat writer Todd Archer. Archer pegged Randle for [ More ]

Jimmy GaroppoloMay 11 09:42p

New England Patriots QB Jimmy Garoppolo is expected to start while QB Tom Brady serves his suspension for 'DeflateGate'. Brady was suspended four games by the National Football League [ More ]

Tom BradyMay 11 07:12p

New England Patriots QB Tom Brady will appeal his four-game suspension, according to his agent.

Tom BradyMay 11 05:52p

New England Patriots QB Tom Brady has been suspended four games for his involvement in the deflated-football incident in the AFC Championship. In addition, the Patriots will lose their [ More ]

D.J. SwearingerMay 11 04:12p

Houston Texans SS D.J. Swearinger was officially released Monday, May 11.

Carey SpearMay 11 01:22p

Cleveland Browns PKs Travis Coons and Carey Spear will compete for the kicker job this offseason, and the competition is wide open at this point, according to special teams coordinator Chris Tabor.

Garrett HartleyMay 11 01:12p

Cleveland Browns PK Garrett Hartley was released Monday, May 11.

Kyle ArringtonMay 11 10:32a

New England Patriots CB Kyle Arrington was released Monday, May 11, according to a source. The team left the door open for him to return.

RSS Feeds

NFL News:
 
Player Notes:
 
Forum Posts:
 

© 2015 RealTime Fantasy Sports, Inc.
Email Us  ·  Call Us 636.447.1170  ·  Lost Password
Advertising represented by USA Today Sports Media Group