Recommendation: Hardy is in the final year of his rookie contract, but the Panthers have little wiggle room with the salary cap at the moment and cannot give him a boost in the $1.35 million remaining on the deal. If he can experience yet another modest jump in his production -- he tallied 61 tackles and 11 sacks in 2012 -- he should get the contract he deserves.
Advice: Hardy had a breakout season in 2012 with 11 sacks and had been hoping that would be enough to warrant a new deal. But with Carolina's struggles getting under the NFL salary cap this offseason no long-term deal has been reached. Hardy says he understands the team's financial restrictions and won't allow his contractual situation to be a distraction.