Yes, Panther Nation, the news just broke and I am SHOCKED!
NOBODY saw a blockbuster deal like this coming. It was just announced that the Carolina Panthers traded defensive end Greg Hardy to the Atlanta Falcons for their second and sixth-round picks in May's draft this year AND wide receiver Harry Douglas.
To complete the trade, the Panthers also send reserve RB Kenyon Barner, a rookie who was injured much of last year and ineffective when he did see the field while the Falcons ship the Panthers reserve DE Cliff Matthews.
The Panthers also receive Atlanta's fifth-round pick in 2015.
I would say I can't believe he was traded, but now it makes perfect sense as to why Gettleman slapped Hardy with the franchise tag instead of a long-term deal....it made him easier to quietly shop and trade because there is NO massive salary attached to him.
Trading The Kraken to a divisional foe isn't the best idea, in my opinion, especially given the state of the offensive tackle position for the Panthers. Gettleman just handed the Atlanta Falcons a weapon to use against us that we are incapable of dealing with at the moment.
I certainly don't see a Byron Bell stopping him. A rookie, no matter how good, will be hard-pressed to slow him down, too.
Harry Douglass had a thousand-yard receiving year due to multiple injuries to the Falcons' receiving corps and the hope is that he will bring that to the Panthers' offense.
"We are sorry to see such a vibrant young player leaving the organization, but are confident he will be a success whoever he plays with. I know some of you are questioning why we traded within the division, and the short answer is Atlanta gave us the best deal. You can't live in the NFL being afraid to face certain players, whether they played for you in the past or not. We play in Baltimore this year and Smitty caught on there, so it's going to be a recurring theme for us in 2014," General Manager David Gettleman said.
Head Coach Ron Rivera chimed in as well. "While Greg (Hardy) has been a wonderful player for us and for me in particular, I know we have several young players capable of filling in his role - specifically, rushing the passer and setting the edge against the run."
Rivera paused and gave the throng of reporters a good long look-over...as if he were a teacher addressing an unruly class.
"I want to emphasize this move was done for multiple reasons; NONE of which have anything to do with his play or his character. He has been a great example for everyone on the team.
"At the end of the day," he continued, "you HAVE to keep in mind that the NFL is a business and with the deepest draft of the 21st century approaching, Dave (Gettleman) and I both agree - the team will be better off with this personnel move and by adding the extra (draft) picks. It also gives us more freedom to move up and down the board to target in on a couple of kids we may really want to add to our team.
"Dave (Gettleman) and I have always talked about 'being nimble' and this, unfortunate as it looks to many outsiders, is the best way to accomplish it. We'll be fine without Greg and I feel Harry Douglass brings a nice skill set to help the offense and our younger receivers....whether they be Marvin McNutt or a kid we sign off the street when the draft is over," he explained.
A reporter asked Gettleman how long the trade talks had been going on....no "rumors" had gotten out and something often does beforehand.
Gettleman had a wily smile in response. "I don't want to get too much into that - let's just say things moved very quickly once they started," he thoughtfully replied.
Another reporter asked if this meant the team would target a pass rusher/DE in the draft.
"We're always looking for the best talent we can, regardless of position," Gettleman replied. "That said, if one falls to us, we'll take a good look. If not, Ron (Rivera) still has good talent there to use. I'm excited we now have nine picks instead of seven and another proven target for Cam Newton to throw to."
The swarming reporters kept wanting to ask questions, but Gettleman held his hand up.
"I know you've got a lot of questions, and they'll get answered in good time I'm sure. We simply feel like, at this point in building this team, we will be a better team for it (the trade) than not. That may sound cold because we certainly know how much of a popular player amongst the fans Greg Hardy was. Believe me, that was NOT lost on us," Gettleman explained.
"But that having been said, I feel we've strengthened the team where we could without losing as much as many think we have - again, because of the young talent we have in-house there. We have added firepower for the upcoming draft and improved our group of receivers. We've also freed up some salary cap space for use either this year or to help go to re-sign Cam. This move actually makes the organization more stable, not less. Thank you."
Reporters were still shouting questions and flashbulbs were still popping as Rivera, Gettleman, and a few unidentified assistants left the press room.
Incredible news! And it would be even more incredible if it were true! April Fool's! ;)
Man....I gotcha last year good with the "Newton traded to Arizona" thing, now this! hehe enjoy!
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