If played right, the Carolina Panthers could enter next season with about 40 million in cap space. This would require parting ways with both Big Money Charles Johnson and Jared Allen. Neither have made any argument to this point to why they should be brought back, especially with contracts totaling about 20 combined. So let’s just assume that they are both gone next year, giving Carolina 40m in cap space. Carolina has some big names, such as Josh Norman and Kawann Short, coming to the bargaining table this offseason. It will be interesting to see how these types of players will negotiate with a team with such a successful outlook. Will they ink team friendly contracts, putting on-field success ahead of personal gain, or will some of these big dogs walk? Also which parts retention are absolutely necessary for parlaying Carolina’s recent success into long-term gains?
Josh Norman has to stay. Say Norman gets 15m per year, but contractual structure makes the initial hit about 12 or 14m. That reduces Carolina’s budget 26m. Short will be the next guy Gettleman targets, but Carolina doesn’t have to over-pursue. The franchise tag is a real option if the two parties can’t find a common ground early in the negotiating process. Let’s say he ends up costing about 12m next year, regardless of how he gets it, that leaves Carolina 14m and a great core group of players already on the roster.
This number fluctuate more, going up with natural turnover of any NFL roster frees and then down 5m that will need to be allocated for draft picks. Carolina could have upwards of 17m dollars in cap room, and that’s with signing Norman, Short, and having already locked up Cam and Kuechly this past year. Mike Tolbert may be vet Carolina will opt to keep around, but he won’t command likely more than 2 million per year. Gettleman will also tuck away some money for in season signings, which drops this number down to about 10m .
I still don’t see Carolina going we are going out and signing a huge number guy. There will be some needs, especially defensive back and edge rusher. The only big-name vet Carolina may go after is Mario Williams, only because Gettleman likes a veteran presence on the defensive line. Williams, coming off a bad year in what I feel is a coaching related problem, he will not be looking for crazy money; he may take a smaller deal to get on a team that has the chance to win a Super Bowl. Even still, I wouldn’t be surprised if Carolina still drafted another every down DE to refresh a defense with some key core players already. Keeping that defense young will be a must for this team’s long-term prospects for success.