Before free agency hits, I'm going ahead and calling a tag-and-trade of Greg Hardy to (most likely) Oakland for 2nd round picks in 2014 and 2015. Here's why:
1. All the parameters are in place for it to happen with the tag.
a) The Panthers placed a non-exclusive rights franchise tag on Hardy
b) Hardy signed the tender, meaning that Drew Rosenhaus is free to negotiate deals with other teams
c) Carolina can negotiate compensation that is less than the standard 2 1st round picks if we choose.
2. The need for a high-quality LT after the retirement of Jordan Gross
Rosenhaus is going to push for around $30 million guaranteed for Hardy over 6 years. That's at least a $5 million cap hit per season even before base salary. Now that we will most likely have to pay a quality LT more than what we were planning to pay Gross, it doesn't make fiscal sense to add the Hardy contract situation on to our cap. Especially with the looming contracts of Cam, Luke and Star that will hit before we get the effects of the bad RB contracts out of our system.
3. Oakland has $65 million and has done nothing yet..
They didn't negotiate at all with their LT Jared Veldheer or top DE Lamarr Houston during the exclusive period, which ended yesterday. Translation: You guys aren't that good, and we're going to use our cap space to swing for the fences for the best talent.
The only DE that makes long term sense for the Raiders is Hardy. He's a year younger than Houston and has 17 more sacks than Houston over the same 4-year period. I believe that McKenzie would pull the trigger on two 2nd-round picks (one this year and one in 2015). Hardy would be one of the splash signings that Oakland would need to move forward to a winning culture. This article lays out the need out in Oakland:
4. The Kraken persona in the Black Hole....
While we all love Greg Hardy's Kraken persona in Charlotte, there's no denying that he would be a perfect fit out in Oakland. From a marketing standpoint, it's a perfect fit. And the NFL is very much a marketing business.
I've been wrong before, and I'm sure I'll be wrong again about certain things in this lifetime. But I think this one has a better chance of happening than people realize.