Free Agency Dust Settles: Where Carolina Stands and Who is Left to Target

 Ted Ginn, Jr

As the dust starts to settle, Dave Gettleman is putting on his overall yes they are high above the belly button and higher from the ground and looking to get to work.  The big names are off the board.  Teams have overpaid, and Carolina will have to sift through the heap like a someone who shows up late to a church yard sale.   

Carolina will have to make some acquisitions in free agency.  To what degree and at what costs still remains to be determined. If they don’t, the Panthers will face many of the challenges they faced in 2014: key positions manned by unproven players and asking more of the young guys than probably should be expected. 

Who’s gone that Panther Nation wanted?

  •     Torrey Smith, WR - signed by 49ers was out of reach anyway
  •     Da’Norris Searcy, SS - signed by Titans
  •     Devin McCourty, FS - wasn’t going to happen
  •     Brian Bulaga, OT - wasn’t going to happen either
  •     Dwayne Harris, WR/ST - no need with the acquisition of Ginn

Who Carolina got?

Really aside from keeping a few guys that were on the team last year, the Panthers lurked in the shadows on the first day of free agency.

  • Greg Olsen, TE - extended not free agency but extension freed up 1.5 mill in cap space.
  • Ted Ginn, Jr. WR/ST
  • Fozzy Whittaker
  • Ed Dickson TE
  • Dwan Edwards DT
  • Colin Cole DT
  • Brenton Bersin WR

Who’s left of interest?

  • Michael Crabtree, WR - reported as out of Panther price range by
  • Cecil Shorts, WR - reported as out of Panther price range by
  • Jarrrett Boykin, WR - the only confirmed player Panthers have shown interest.  Boykin had a solid year in Green Bay during his second season after Randall Cobb fell to injury.  He’s a big guy, who has played in a pass heavy system. Given the precision of the Packer’s passing attack, he should be a relatively easy study and astute route runner. He’s not fast and obviously didn’t impress enough in Green Bay for them to keep him. Perhaps more disconcerting is their drafting of three receivers in 2014 after Boykin had a noteworthy 2013 season. Would add nice competition to Carolina receiving rotation. Likely won’t command much money and could be relatively nice compliment to Kelvin Benjamin, leaving the speed game to Philly Brown and Ted Ginn.
  • Percy Harvin, WR - known as a problem child in the lockerroom.  Would be an interesting addition, adding a playmaker.  Views himself as a top receiver and likely wouldn’t accept salary Carolina would be willing to offer. Doesn’t seem like a personality the Panthers would want to add.
  • Kenny Britt, WR - viewed as a problem child prone to injury while in Tennessee, Britt performed well on a one year contract in St. Louis. Arguably their most productive receiver, Britt is the big body, experienced receiver that would most help the Panthers at this point.
  • Brandon Browner, CB - viewed as having strong value, Browner performed well enough in New England. He’s a big body corner that could help a very young Panthers secondary.
  • Cortland Finnegan, CB - Adding Finnegan alongside of Josh Norman would make for a salty secondary. Gritty player who leaves it all on the field. 
  • Terence Newman, CB - veteran player who wouldn’t give Carolina the speed they hope to add to the team.  A veteran addition to the secondary could be valuable to add depth if willing to take the mercenary contract Gettleman likes to offer guys viewed as washed up by the league.
  • Rahim Moore, FS - Desires solid contract. Could ask for more money than the Panthers believe him worth. Panthers are in need of a safety, but shouldn’t overspend for a player of questionable ability.
  • Joe Barksdale, OT - Adding Barksdale to the rotation would give Carolina real flexibility in the draft. Some say Giants were interested in Barksdale while Gettleman was in NY. Gettleman should be well aware of Barksdale, and adding an player with experience could allow Carolina to move Remmers and Oher to most natural positions. Would add the depth and competition that Panthers offensive line lacked in 2014.
  • Jake Long, OT - Concerns about injuries, but similar upside to Barksdale. May be worth a look if price tag associated created by pedigree and name recognition mostly comes down.
  • Pierre Thomas, RB - Veteran back that produces. Nice hands out of the backfield. Probably wouldn’t command tons because of age.
  • CJ Spiller, RB - Likely above Carolina’s price point.  Would make an excellent compliment to Jonathan Stewart. Injury history could lower price below his on-field value, but not low enough for Carolina to get involved.
  • Knowshon Moreno, RB - missing from the conversation, injury derailed Moreno’s 2014 season in Miami after getting a relatively solid free agent deal. Moreno could be an interesting addition. He has a versatile skill-set, but has never been able to stay healthy. Dangerous addition given Stewart’s injury history, but given he wouldn’t need to be the featured back could be a value addition.
  • Da'Quan Bowers, DE - In mix for #1 overall pick in 2011. Some wanted him over Cam Newton. Thankfully, they were a small minority swayed by his hometown hero status as a Clemson star. Bowers never lived up to expectation in Tampa.  Carolina needs pass-rushers. He’s the type of guy Gettleman likes to recruit. Given up on by the league, plug him into a strong system with a strong supporting cast and let him fight for relevancy.  Could be inspired to show his former team and division rival he wasn’t the sole reason for disappointment.

By The Professor aka Tony Dunn

Follow him on Twitter @Cat_Chronicles