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Greg Hardy, Carolina Panthers talking new contract?

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Pass rusher Greg Hardy hopes to be a part of the Carolina Panthers' promising young defense for years to come.

Entering the final year of his rookie contract, Hardy's camp first struck up contract extension talks with the Panthers back in March.

Those negotiations, however, stalled as new general manager Dave Gettleman attempted to soften the salary-cap disaster he inherited from former GM Marty Hurney. The Panthers, at the time, were $16 million over the cap, but now they sit roughly $12 million under, and the defensive end's name has come up again.

Joseph Person of The Charlotte Observer reported Tuesday that the Panthers are in talks with the fourth-year pro about forging a long-term contract before Week 1, according to a league source.

That doesn't mean it will happen. The Panthers are in the driver's seat and might choose to franchise Hardy after the season, instead of promising him anything before it begins.

Of course, the incentive to lock down Hardy soon is the promise they see in his play, and the role he inhabits on what looks to be one of the NFL's nastiest front sevens. Besides, Hardy, in June, promised a 50-sack season. Completely outrageous, but if Hardy reaches even a third of his stated goal, the Panthers have a shot to get him at a bargain before he explodes.

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