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Panthers use franchise tag to keep DE Greg Hardy; re-sign K Graham Gano

  • Jets Panthers Football-1.jpg

    FILE - In this Dec. 15, 2013 file photo, Carolina Panthers' Graham Gano (9) kicks a field goal against the New York Jets during the first half of an NFL football game in Charlotte, N.C. Holding the ball is punter Brad Nortman. Gano is the first of Carolina's 20 soon-to-be unrestricted free agents to re-sign with the Panthers. Carolina announced Friday, Feb. 28, 2014, that Gano agreed to a four-year contract. (AP Photo/Bob Leverone)The Associated Press

  • Panthers Gano Football-2.jpg

    FILE - This is a 2013 file photo showing Graham Gano of the Carolina Panthers NFL football team. Gano is the first of Carolina's 20 soon-to-be unrestricted free agents to re-sign with the Panthers. Carolina announced Friday, Feb. 28, 2014, that Gano agreed to a four-year contract. (AP Photo/File)The Associated Press

The Panthers announced they have applied the franchise tag to Greg Hardy, preventing the defensive end from hitting the free agent market.

Hardy will make $12.45 million next season.

Earlier Friday, the team said it re-signed kicker Graham Gano to a four-year contract. Financial terms of that deal were not released.

Hardy, entering his fifth NFL season, tied a franchise single-season record with 15 sacks in 2013 and was selected second-team All-Pro by The Associated Press.

Carolina coach Ron Rivera says in a release he's pleased to have Hardy back, adding "he was a big reason we were able to lead the league in sacks last year and he keeps our defensive line intact."

Hardy led the Panthers with 38 quarterback pressures and posted a career-high 67 tackles last season.

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