Defense and consistent pressure on opposing QBs is something that helped the Giants win Super Bowls (as well as the Steelers). Call me crazy, but I think Gett has that same mind frame. I absolutely think that Hardy is a key element in a run to a championship, and Alexander has not yet shown us that his level of game is in the same league as the Kraken's. Consistent pressure, imo, is perhaps the most important way to deal with guys like Brees. It doesn't stop him completely, but it makes Breesus human. Pressure definitely turns Matty Ice into slush, and flat out makes Freeman look more like Vince Young than Vince Ferragamo (old schoolers). Moreover, his mere presence helps the entire defense including his teammate on the opposite side. Another good year by Hardy will undoubtedly put another type of pressure on CJ and the FO. One would have to think long and hard about who stays or goes (if it would come to that), and one would be faced with the real possibility of restructuring or getting capped (as the process of market correction will more than likely continue into next year's free agency, particularly with Gett at the helm). But, I still say we keep both at the end of the day.
Going off on a little tangent that may be a sign of things to come next year, look what Elway is saying about Dumervil's contract this year. So all of you who don't think that CJ's contract won't become an issue, or that he would never be cut or traded in favor of a cheaper Hardy or up-and-coming Alexander (if he shows marked improvement), you might want to think again. Gett comes from a different ilk than Hurney...
Basically, Gett is going to pay players what their worth, and he is not going to overspend (as well he shouldn't). I think that a lot is going to depend upon Hardy's play this year. If he has another good year, I don't believe there is any way Gettleman is going to let him go, unless he wants an exorbitant contract. I don't think Hardy is going to get CJ-money, and I don't even think CJ is going to get Hurney-CJ-money, but good money more in line with what some of the coveted premier rushers got this year. Cj will have to trim some fat off his contract if Hardy (and, to a lesser extent, Alexander) plays with the fire he played with this past season. Moreover, another part of the equation will be the possible emergence (or rerun in Dwan Edwards' case) of a DT who can actually put pressure on the interior. Gettleman is going to want to keep that intact, but at market value. Hopefully the players will covet what we are trying to do here and compromise to be able to stay Panthers.
Now, LaFell is another story altogether. I am just miffed as to why people continue to speak as if he is all that and a bag of chips. He isn't steak, people, he is more akin to Spam. He barely plays to the level of a B-list WR in this league, and he is going to have to up his game markedly for him to even be a major concern when his contract comes up. I think he will be a concern---someone who knows our system, that would be nice to have, but up to now his play doesn't warrant a big money deal because he hasn't played near what people first believed to be his potential. I could argue that he has been a little disappointing, actually.
LaFell is going to have to improve dramatically, or the market might just barely see him as a blip on the radar (much like it sees Murphy, (saw) Brandon Gibson, and possibly even DHB today.