Not all aspects of the 2012 Carolina Panthers defense struck fear into the hearts of opposing teams, however, I am of the belief that our pair of nasty defensive ends most certainly did. Charles Johnson showed us again why it took “BIG MONEY” to keep him around. He finished up his season with 42 total tackles and 12.5 sacks. Greg Hardy seemingly came out of nowhere with 61 total tackles and 11 sacks of his own.
The thing that really amazes me when discussing Hardy’s numbers is the amount of production, given the broken thumb he suffered in September. That’s right folks, the Kraken was able to unleash an onslaught of terror even while having one tentacle tied behind his back. Panther fans have to be licking their chops in anticipation of what he might do this season with “two” good hands.
December 16, 2012; San Diego, CA, USA; Carolina Panthers defensive end Greg Hardy (76) prior to the game against the San Diego Chargers at Qualcomm Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Christopher Hanewinckel-USA Today Sports
Just as sudden as his emergence from the depths of the NFL sea, is the worry he may be captured by another ship in the harbor here soon. It is a known fact that free agent defensive ends are excepting less money as of late to play in the NFL. Would the Panthers be wise to try to sign him now? Some have speculated that there is some form of collusion at play, allowing the owners to work together so the players can not pit them against each other to drive up the price of their services. Here is an artical provided by Pro Football talk to help you better understand: http://profootballtalk.nbcsports.com/2013/04/03/league-union-disagree-on-collusion/
No matter what the reason may be, the fact still remains that if we hope to continue watching the evolution of this mythical creature, we will have to fork over the proverbial “treasure”.
The real question becomes when? Does Dave Gettleman get on the phone with Greg’s agent, in hopes of reaching a deal before the start of the 2013 season? Do we wait to see if the Kraken surfaces in true form once more this year? If we wait too long, the Panthers brass will be left following a map looking for “x marks the spot” along with every other team in need of a dominant pass rusher.
I have full confidence in the Panthers to do everything within reason to keep the Kraken in familiar waters. The only thing to do now Panther fans is brace yourself and don’t look over the side of the boat. He’s not coming for you, he’s coming for every quarterback in the NFL.