Hoping for Hardy to Stumble, Should I be Ashamed?

Yea I said it!  Don’t act like it hasn’t crossed your mind since Charles “Big $$” Johnson went down against the Patriots. Greg Hardy is in a contract year, and playing like it!  The Kraken goes into Miami with 6 sacks and a forced fumble. The worst thing for the Panthers would be for Hardy to “come alive” against the Dolphins.  What?!?!?! That doesn’t make any sense.  Carolina needs to defeat Miami to solidify their legitimacy. Well, they will need to do it with a mediocre performance from Greg Hardy if they are smart.  Hardy needs to stay in Carolina for their for this season’s magic to become long-term.

Hardy has blossomed over the past two seasons alongside “Big $$.”  Registering 11 sacks in 2012 and  6 sacks in 10 games in 2013, Hardy looks to command legitimate money in free agency.  If Hardy blows up against Miami and then against Tampa Bay, he may just become too expensive for Gettleman’s Panthers. Losing Hardy to free agency would be devastating.  Gettleman invested a lot in Carolina’s defensive line this year.  While it has paid off, Carolina will look to improve the offensive line, receiver core, and secondary in the 2014 draft.  Add to this Newton, who will need to resign his contract next year hopefully, Hardy could become a cap casualty.  Making 1.3 million this year, Hardy will look to move up the ladder towards more elite pass rushing figures.  

Greg Hardy was never a sure bet. Drafted in the 6th round in 2010, his raw physical talent has always shown promise.  2012, however, was Hardy’s coming out party as a pass rusher, registering 11 sacks.  Still, “Big $$” had a lot to do with Hardy’s success. Hardy benefited greatly from rushing opposite from one of the league's best pass rushers, Charles Johnson, throughout his career.

Johnson suffered a MCL sprain from a dirty play in the Patriots game last week.  With “Big $$” sitting out against the Fins, the Panthers are already looking for Hardy to assume the role as premier pass rusher.  

I hope he is off his game in Miami.  

Yea that’s right! Call me crazy, but I love my Panthers enough to think about the long game. If the Panthers could just win through different means than Hardy, whether it be Kuechly flying around on defense or Newton airing it out on offense, the Panthers will benefit from a quiet Sunday from Hardy. If Hardy goes off while Johnson is out, he may just catch the eye of a GM who is interested in making a big impact signing next year.  The Panthers need Hardy to stay!

Having Hardy, Johnson, Lotulelei, and Short would make a 2014 defensive line where the oldest member was 27.  Back this up with with Kuechly, the best linebacker in football, and you have a defensive core that could be dominate for the next 5 years.

I do feel a bit ashamed for hoping that Hardy stumbles in the next few weeks. I selfishly want him to be drowned out by a magical playoff run that overshadows his importance in Carolina’s success.  Many often describe Charles Johnson as the most unsung Panther, well let’s hope Hardy ducks into the shadows while “Big $$” is gone.  

Keeping Hardy is paramount to Carolina’s future success.  He was that diamond in the ruff that every GM hopes to find late in the draft.  Let’s just hope that the Panthers find enough success this year to warrant spending the money to keep these brutes together.  I’m sure a Super Bowl championship would make it easier on Gettleman in luring these guys back to Charlotte for the next few years.