tagging Hardy is a win-win. If we tag him and trade him, he has high value and we can get a quality player at another position of need. If we tag him and he stays, hes been a great player/personality and can keep this defense rolling. If we dont tag him we get nothing but a loss of talent and depth at the DE position.
If they cant do a deal this year, they option for the 5th year on his rookie deal... and they still have 2 more years of Franchise Tag beyond that.
That's 4 more years he has to be in Carolina, like it or not. He's not going to the Cowboys or Raiders or anyone else any sooner (barring a trade scenario), period.
What player is going to risk 4 year (2 under his current rookie deal and 2 under the Tag which are basically 1 year deals) to getting paid NOW and getting a substantial amount of GUARANTEED money? Only the dumb ones.
As far as the amount per year goes... that wont matter nearly as much as the GUARANTEED money will matter.
Finally, it will get done and it will be a good deal for both sides. Gettleman will make it happen.