Carolina Panthers defensive end Greg Hardy was handed the franchise tag for the 2014 season, and the offseason didn’t get much better for Hardy. He was arrested and charged for assaulting and threatening to kill his ex-girlfriend.

Hardy was convicted, but is set to appeal the judge’s decision on the two misdemeanor charges, meaning his case will go to a jury trial. It likely means that the situation won’t be resolved until after the season, with the NFL preferring to wait for the legal system to decide first. That means Hardy could get through the 2014 season without being suspended, and if or when he does get suspended it could be with a different team in 2015.

From the Charlotte Observer:

So the Panthers likely will have their Pro Bowl defensive end this season, but it figures to be Hardy’s last one in Charlotte. Whether Hardy, who will make $13.1 million after receiving the franchise tag, will be productive with a pending trial hanging over him remains to be seen.

That is a big shift in philosophy regarding a player, to go from franchise tag worthy player to off the team. It could also make other teams hesitant to sign him in free agency next spring with this trial looming over him like a dark cloud.

Tags: Carolina Panthers