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Report: Greg Hardy, Panthers talk long-term contract

Carolina Panthers general manager Dave Gettleman recently called Greg Hardy"part of the puzzle" for a team coming off its first winning season since 2008.

The heat-seeking pass rusher is seen by many as a no-brainer target for the franchise tag, but the Panthers haven't given up on signing him to a long-term deal.

Joseph Person of The Charlotte Observer reported Thursday that Carolina remains "in discussions" with Hardy and recently met with his agent, Drew Rosenhaus, to continue negotiations. Hardy told Around The League during Super Bowl week that he's looking for a "crapload of money" after piling up 26 sacks over the past two seasons.

Gettleman reminded reporters at the NFL Scouting Combine that Carolina is "cap-strapped" and unable to pay everyone from a roster that won the NFC South last season. As a result, Person notes that the Panthers are expected to let both receiver Brandon LaFell and cornerback Captain Munnerlyn test the market. Gettleman won't let Hardy get that far.

While the Panthers already have the league's fourth-highest-paid defensive end in Charles Johnson, teams don't usually part ways with ascendant pass rushers. If a new deal can't be worked out by Monday's deadline, look for Hardy to be franchised.

The latest edition of the "Around The League Podcast" discusses the top 101 free agents and forecasts the offseasons of the Baltimore Ravens and Kansas City Chiefs.

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