One Piece of The Draft Puzzle: Expiring Contracts

Greg HardySome people see "the Draft" as a weekend event.  In reality, "the Draft" is a 365 day process of intensive evaluation.  This process has many moving parts that all fit together to form a large puzzle-like picture.  Preparations for the 2015 draft are happening as we speak. You can bet Gettleman is breaking the pieces down, whether it is roster composition, contracts, or evaluating free agency options.

One piece of the puzzle is scouting the prospects who will be playing on Saturdays this fall, and we’ll do plenty of that here at #C3 in the coming months.  But another, more understated piece of the draft puzzle deals with knowing your own team.  GM David Gettleman has talked about this a few times and has stated how important it is to know your squad.  I’ve started looking at
our squad, well at least one part of our squad.  When it comes to knowing your own team there are different pieces to that puzzle as well.  Some of those pieces are how your players perform in 2014, injuries, aging, locker room fit (see Steve Smith) and contract status.

When preparing for the 2015 draft, you have to start by know which contracts will be up after next season.  The Panthers have 17 contracts of note that expire after the upcoming season.  Evaluating depth at these positions and then deciding where your priorities in the 2015 draft are going to be is surely on Gettleman's mind.  The contracts of note are:  Greg Hardy, Dwan Edwards, Colin Cole, Mario Addison, Byron Bell, Nate Chandler (R), Gary Williams, Chris Scott, Jason Avant, Kealoha Pilares, Chase Blackburn, Antoine Cason, James Dockery, Josh Thomas, Colin Jones, Ed Dickson and Joe Webb.  To break that down, that is four D-Linemen, four O-Lineman, four D-Backs, two WRs, one TE, one LB and one QB.  Thankfully only the Kraken could be considered a “core” player, but this number of FAs will considerably impact our depth going forward.  Also, if any of these players have breakout seasons it can impact our cap-situation as well.  So these will be positions that I will be taking an extra close look at in the upcoming Scouting-Season.
Follow me on Twitter at @PanthersDrafter for ongoing discussions and updates on these positions.  Also look for an ongoing series focusing on how each move, each game, and each injury will impact our future draft needs.