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Panthers' Greg Hardy awaiting big pay day

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CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) - Greg Hardy's late-season flurry of sacks could soon bolster his bank account.

The Panthers' defensive end will become an unrestricted free agent in March, and a nice pay day could be waiting.

Hardy had eight sacks in his final three games and tied a Carolina franchise-record with 15 sacks this season. He had 24 sacks in his last 25 games. Four of those sacks came Sunday against Atlanta, helping the Panthers (12-4) win the NFC South and a first-round bye.

Hardy says he ideally wants to sign a long-term deal with Carolina, but he's fine if the team uses the franchise tag on him.

Says Hardy: "I would love a franchise (tag), man."

AP NFL website: www.pro32.ap.org

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