General manager Dave Gettleman has talked about his affinity for pass rushers, and big bodied players on the offensive and defensive line. Hardy fills this role, and broke out in 2012 with a career-high 10.5 sacks. He paired with Charles Johnson to form the best pass rushing tandem the Panthers have had since Julius Peppers and Mike Rucker played together in the early 2000s.
Hardy has become a fan favorite by adopting his 'Kraken' moniker, and reaching out to fans via social media. The only issue he had early in his career was run stopping, which he drastically improved in 2012. A healthy Johnson and Hardy, paired with rookies Star Lotulelei and Kawann Short could give the Panthers their best defensive line since 2003 when the team reached the Super Bowl.
It's nice to see the sides working on a new deal, but for the sake of the organization they should wait until much later in the year. Extending a player for one solid year of performance is a play right out of Marty Hurney's manual.