Carolina Panthers defensive end Greg Hardy has signed his franchise tender as the two sides continue to work on a long-term deal, a source told ESPN on Tuesday.
The strategic move guarantees Hardy’s $13 million salary and applies it immediately to the cap of the Panthers, who have 20 unrestricted free agents and want to sign quarterback Cam Newton to an extension.
The move means Hardy is obligated to take part in mandatory team activities. It also eliminates Hardy’s participation in the free-agent market, which was unlikely to create an offer since any team signing him would surrender two first-round picks.
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