2015 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

Tyler EifertJul 30 03:23p

Cincinnati Bengals TE Tyler Eifert said he is 100% healthy for the first time since the beginning of last offseason.

LeGarrette BlountJul 30 01:22p

New England Patriots RB LeGarrette Blount was placed on the Non-Football Injury list because he was not able to complete the conditioning test at the start of training camp. [ More ]

Kelvin BenjaminJul 30 01:02p

Carolina Panthers WR Kelvin Benjamin (hamstring) said his hamstrings are fine and that he is 100% healthy entering training camp.

Terrance WestJul 30 12:52p

Cleveland Browns RB Terrance West worked with the first-team offense during team drills Thursday, July 30. Head coach Mike Pettine said several running backs will see time with the starters during training camp.

Trent RichardsonJul 30 10:22a

Oakland Raiders RB Trent Richardson is rumored to being unimpressive with his new team.

Tom BradyJul 30 10:12a

Updating an ongoing story, New England Patriots QB Tom Brady's lawsuit was transferred to Manhattan, N.Y., by a Minnesota judge Friday, July 30.

Tom BradyJul 30 09:52a

New England Patriots QB Tom Brady has filed a lawsuit against the NFL asking a Minnesota federal court for penalties against Brady to be vacated. The suit alleges that [ More ]

Jake LongJul 30 09:42a

Free-agent OT Jake Long (Rams) left his visit with the New York Giants Wednesday, July 29, without a deal. It was his second visit with the team without a [ More ]

Joseph RandleJul 29 08:43p

Dallas Cowboys RB Joseph Randle received strong praise from team owner and general manager Jerry Jones Wednesday July 29. 'We have a player (in Randle) that has the potential [ More ]

Joique BellJul 29 07:23p

Detroit Lions RB Joique Bell (undisclosed) was placed on the physically unable to perform list Wednesday, July 29, as he recovers from offseason surgery. It is unclear what the [ More ]

James WrightJul 29 06:43p

Free-agent WR James Wright (Bengals) was placed on Reserve/Injured Wednesday, July 29.

Jordan ReedJul 29 05:43p

Washington Redskins TE Jordan Reed (knee) has been cleared for full participation in training camp, according to head coach Jay Gruden.

Chase CoffmanJul 29 04:53p

Free-agent TE Chase Coffman (Titans) re-signed with the Tennessee Titans Wednesday, July 29, according to a source.

Jason Pierre-PaulJul 29 04:33p

New York Giants DE Jason Pierre-Paul (finger) can be placed on the Non-Football Injury list if/when he signs his franchise tender. Owner John Mara said the team would like [ More ]

Jason Pierre-PaulJul 29 04:23p

New York Giants DE Jason Pierre-Paul (finger) is receiving his own medical treatment and rehabilitation at his home. There is currently no timetable for his return. Pierre-Paul, however, could [ More ]

Roddy WhiteJul 29 03:43p

Atlanta Falcons WR Roddy White (knee) had his left knee drained before minicamp, and he could have it drained again before the season ends. White isn't concerned about it, [ More ]

Ryan KerriganJul 29 01:43p

Washington Redskins LB Ryan Kerrigan signed a five-year contract extension Wednesday, July 29, worth $11.5 million per season, according to a source. The deal includes a $16 million signing bonus.

Cyrus GrayJul 29 01:13p

Kansas City Chiefs RB Cyrus Gray was released Wednesday, July 29.

Carlos HydeJul 29 11:13a

San Francisco 49ers RB Carlos Hyde is not believed to be injured and shouldn't be on the non-football injury list for long. Hyde suffered a calf injury during spring [ More ]

Tom BradyJul 29 09:23a

Updating previous reports, New England Patriots QB Tom Brady posted on Facebook that he replaced his broken phone with a new one after his attorneys told the NFL 'my [ More ]

Tom BradyJul 29 01:53a

Updating a previous report, New England Patriots QB Tom Brady could have had his suspended reduced based on a series of conditions. According to a source with knowledge of [ More ]

Eric BerryJul 29 01:43a

Kansas City Chiefs SS Eric Berry (illness) has been cleared to take the practice field with the team Wednesday, July 29. He was diagnosed with Hodgkin's Lymphoma in December [ More ]

Geno SmithJul 28 08:03p

New York Jets QB Geno Smith could be benched if he struggles early in the season, according to head coach Todd Bowles Tuesday, July 28. 'If you feel that [ More ]

Ryan WilliamsJul 28 05:53p

Dallas Cowboys RB Ryan Williams (knee) was placed on Reserve/Injured Tuesday, July 28.

Brodrick BunkleyJul 28 05:43p

New Orleans Saints DT Brodrick Bunkley (undisclosed) was released with a failed physical designation Tuesday, July 28.

James WrightJul 28 05:33p

Cincinnati Bengals WR James Wright (knee) was waived with an injured designation Tuesday, July 28.

Darrin ReavesJul 28 05:33p

Carolina Panthers RB Darrin Reaves was waived Tuesday, July 28.

Tom BradyJul 28 05:13p

New England Patriots QB Tom Brady is facing a four-game suspension, but the Patriots have done fairly well without him. In games Brady has missed since he became a [ More ]

Tom BradyJul 28 04:53p

New England Patriots QB Tom Brady has given permission to the NFL Players Association to appeal his case in federal court, according to a source. NFL commissioner Roger Goodell [ More ]

Lamar MillerJul 28 03:43p

Miami Dolphins RB Lamar Miller may see an increase in carries in 2015, according to head coach Joe Philbin. 'If he's cranking and he got it 24 times a [ More ]

Le'Veon BellJul 28 03:03p

Pittsburgh Steelers RB Le'Veon Bell's original three-game suspension has been reduced to a two-game suspension Tuesday, July 28.

Tom BradyJul 28 02:53p

New England Patriots QB Tom Brady's four-game suspension has been upheld by NFL commissioner Roger Goodell Tuesday, July 28.

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