Tampering Rules Haven't Stopped Panther Players from Courting Free Agents

Tampering Rules Haven't Stopped Panther Players from Courting Free Agents

Tampering rules haven't stopped Panther players from courting free agents apparently, and it's not the first time either. Cam Newton reached out to Michael Oher in the 2015 offseason. Oher, who some say was contemplating retirement

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A Brief Peek Ahead at Carolina's Salary Cap

A Brief Peek Ahead at Carolina's Salary Cap

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.

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A Look at Carolina's Undrafted Free Agents

A Look at Carolina's Undrafted Free Agents

The past two draft classes have been loaded with depth and talent, this is why scouting undrafted free agents is so important. Last year Gettleman was able to bring in big contributors to our team, and starters in Philly Brown and Andrew Norwell. At this time, we have signed 10 undrafted free agents and invited one to our rookie minicamp. Even though we didn't bring in a couple of the names I really wanted, I am more than excited for this crop of players. I’ll try my best to rank these players off their potential to make the team, and give my prediction for their future.

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The Dave Gettleman Project

A team often becomes better if the costs are lowered without harming the quality.

Architecture (team building) is an expression of values.

Ever since the offseason began, Panthers fans have been wondering what GM Dave Gettleman would do to improve this football team. During the midst of a six game losing streak, fans across the country were blasting him for various moves. Whether he was cursed for cutting Panther great Steve Smith, signing no big time names, or putting together a lackluster offensive line, he remained cool, calm, and collected. He knows what he is doing and he does it well.

Since becoming the GM in 2013, all he has done is compile a 19-12-1 regular season record and two playoff appearances. Yet, EVERYONE wanted him fired. I understand the concern and frustration of a six game losing streak from a team who lost only four games all of last year, but he had zero cap space to work with.

All of the receiving core was released because they wanted huge contracts off of one season. Brandon LaFell and Ted Ginn saw huge success in 2013 because of a powerful run game, not because they are spectacular receivers. Unfortunately, Smith is no longer a number one option and we simply didn’t have the cap space for him. Same with the secondary. Captain Munnerlyn and Mike Mitchell had insane seasons in 2013. Not because they are superstars, but because of a front seven that dominated the line of scrimmage.

Gettleman has done nothing but make the best of a miserable salary cap he was left with. As Aaron Rodgers would say, RELAX. He is known to build through the draft. Looking at the current depth chart for 2015, seven of the 11 players drafted under Gettleman as GM are starting, not to mention Kony Ealy who will more than likely become a starter opposite of Charles Johnson.

The man has built through the draft well and will continue to do so. If you don’t believe me, check out this 2014 1st round re-draft done by Sports Illustrated and see how many Panthers “should have” gone in the 1st round.

http://www.si.com/nfl/2015/01/20/2014-nfl-draft-redo-derek-carr-odell-beckham-jr-jadeveon-clowney

So, as one die-hard Panthers fan to another, let’s continue to back our team in every way possible. Let’s do our jobs as fans and let Gettleman do his job as GM. In Gettleman we trust, Panther nation.

By Downfield Dylan Woodham

Crew Reacts to Signing Sunshine: Brenton Bersin

Crew Reacts to Signing Sunshine: Brenton Bersin

Carolina worked out a deal to bring back Brenton Sunshine Bersin. The club signed an exclusive rights tender Tuesday for the former neighbor and fellow alum to Jerry Richardson. Besin, who became the whipping boy of Panthers Nation because of his representation  team’s overall dismal special teams play, is a guy people either love or hate.  Let’s see where the Crew falls on the signing.

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A Carolina Case for Danny Amendola

A Carolina Case for Danny Amendola

It makes absolutely no sense for the defending World Champion Patriots to keep one of my favorite players, wide receiver, Danny Amendola. We'll dig into why that's the case in a moment, but just trust me for now. Here's a bit about him before we continue. 

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Would You Accept Julius Peppers If He Came Home To Carolina?

Would You Accept Julius Peppers If He Came Home To Carolina?

The Carolina Panthers might have the opportunity this offseason to bring Peppers back if the Green Bay Packers decide to release him. According to his contract, he is scheduled to make $9.5 million next season, and will carry a $12 million dollar cap figure. If the Packers release Julius Peppers they could gain $7 million in open cap space. At age 35, Peppers can still be a dominant pass rusher in this league. He proved it during the 2014 season with 44 tackles, seven sacks, two interceptions, and two touchdowns.

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Re-sign or Not: A look at the Panther’s unrestricted free agents

Re-sign or Not: A look at the Panther’s unrestricted free agents

This offseason has already gotten off to a better start than last year’s; with nearly half as many players set to be off the books, the talent of 2015’s pending free agents pales in comparison to that of last year’s. Still, there are questions that need to be answered, and players that should be re-signed. Here’s my opinion on what actions Gettleman should take.

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Should the Panthers Bring Back DeAngelo Williams?

Grab the mic Panther fans and let the nation know!  Open Mic is an open discussion thread. Just drop a comment in the comments section below. Respond to other fans, and as always #KeepPounding

There have been few players that have become synonymous with Carolina Panthers football more so than DeAngelo Williams. Williams is the career leader in almost every rushing category for the Panthers, he is 3rd in career touchdowns, he is 1st in 100 yard rushing games, and the top receiving running back in yards and receptions. But as great as he has been over the course of his career, his production has diminished significantly.

We are at a crossroads with Williams. According to overthecap.com, the cap hit for Dengelo next season is $6.6 million. That is a very big number for a running back that rushed for 219 yards, had an average yards per carry of 3.5 yards, and scored 0 touchdowns. So will DeAngelo Williams be willing to take a pay cut and to take a reduced role or is it time to part ways with Williams? 

Give us your thoughts and share in the comments sections below.

Who do the Panthers have in Jason Avant?

A Character S-Avant?

Part 2: Who does Carolina have, and what do they got?



How does a guy with modest on-field production keep a roster position with the same NFL team for 8 years?  He doesn’t drop the rock and he strengthens the team in ways other than just catches, yards, and touchdowns.  This is how Jason Avant kept an active roster spot with the Eagles, and why the Panthers brought him to Carolina.

Avant’s career stats aren’t all that impressive. He’s always just been the reliable guy, who  played second or third fiddle. Braylon Edwards overshadowed Avant in college, and Kevin Curtis and Desean Jackson in the pros. Avant wasn’t ever meant to be “the” guy though. Instead, he’s the guy you can count on both on and off the field.

Receiving
Year Age Tm Pos No. G GS Rec Yds Y/R TD Lng R/G Y/G Fmb AV
2006 23 PHI wr 81 8 3 7 68 9.7 1 18 0.9 8.5 1 1
2007 24 PHI wr 81 15 5 23 267 11.6 2 31 1.5 17.8 0 2
2008 25 PHI wr 81 15 6 32 377 11.8 2 31 2.1 25.1 0 3
2009 26 PHI WR 81 16 9 41 587 14.3 3 58 2.6 36.7 1 5
2010 27 PHI wr 81 16 3 51 573 11.2 1 34 3.2 35.8 0 5
2011 28 PHI wr 81 16 7 52 679 13.1 1 35 3.3 42.4 2 5
2012 29 PHI wr 81 14 6 53 648 12.2 0 39 3.8 46.3 1 4
2013 30 PHI te/WR 81 16 14 38 447 11.8 2 31 2.4 27.9 1 4
Career 116 53 297 3646 12.3 12 58 2.6 31.4 6 29
Provided by Pro-Football-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 5/22/2014.


Andy Reid’s West Coast offense rarely featured a lead receiver.  Avant produced consistently, but was never really a standout.  Following Terrell Owens' departure, it seemed as if Reid preferred a democratic passing attack over featuring a receiver. Avant always remained in the mix though.  He was what Reid cherished most, a company guy who worked hard each week.  It probably didn’t hurt that Avant has crazy sick hands. In 2012, Avant was the only receiver with more than 40 catches and zero drops. Those types of numbers get you a wicked awesome song!




Avant’s value, however, extended beyond his on-field consistency.  He provided leadership, maturity, and stability to a receiving core that has had its share of disruptive personalities.  The best Eagle receivers of the last decade have all had character concerns. Skip Bayless mocked T.O. as “Team Obliterator” while with the Eagles, and Jackson has always been known as a cocky showboat whose recent parting was amidst scurrilous gang associations. Currently, the most established receiver is Riley Cooper--a guy with documented character issues.


There’s never a worry about this with Jason “Character S-Avant.” He’s known for his model character and selfless personality.  Philly.com recently pined about losing such a locker-room presence:
The Eagles will miss Avant's presence in the locker room, around the NovaCare Complex and on game days. A religious man, according to all accounts, Avant led by example but also wasn't afraid to speak up if need be. He mentored many young players, in recent years taking them under his wing in Bible study classes or after practice catching balls from the jug machine.

For the most part, I haven’t bought into the Steve Smith lockerroom disruption story line.  Gettleman, however, has clearly made it a point to bring in free agent receivers known as locker room guys. He passed on a several free agents, such as Hakeem Nick, Desean Jackson (an unlikely sign anyway), and Kenny Britt, all who have outstanding character concerns. This alone doesn’t prove that Smith was a disturbance.  It may suggest, however, that Smith wasn’t a catalyst for team solidarity either.  
Some point to Carolina’s failure to develop a #2 option alongside of Smith as evidence that he isn’t all that great at building guys up.
Maybe there is something to the idea that Cam could better develop without the former star, especially in lieu of his declining on-field production.


Cam Newton looks to be at a momentum point of his career.  He’s proven that he has the stuff to be great in the NFL.  His continued improvement under center and as a team leader suggests it’s just a matter of time.  Last season, Newton demonstrated tremendous development as a player, professional, and team leader.  Without forsaking his spirit and self-confidence, Newton improved his sideline demeanor by demonstrating an increased trust for his coaches and teammates.  You could almost see him shrug off the burden of the belief that “he alone had to win games.”  Great commanders always show faith in their troops.  Newton started bought into this idea, even in times where experience suggested otherwise.  Poor blocking, dropped passes, and stalled drives all had to wear on the new Cam and threaten to bring out the old pouty, towel headed Newton.  New Cam resisted, something though that is much easier to do when you are able to go 12-4 on the back of a league leading defense.  Carolina can’t soundly bank on this in the future.


Surrounding Newton with guys that nourish his development as a leader is just as important as surrounding him with explosive offensive weapons.  It’s the long bet, and long bets are always require the most discipline.


Avant is a guy who may recognize this as much as Gettleman.  In response to Dolphins Jonathan Martin saga, Avant wrote a piece for MMQB.com on the importance of character, leadership, and a strong lockeroom.  He wrote:

The most important part of an NFL locker room is leadership. If there isn’t good leadership, one bad apple has potential to corrupt the bunch. In Philadelphia, our franchise has had some great leaders. The spirit of Brian Dawkins, Brian Westbrook and Troy Vincent live on. Their names are mentioned a lot in organizational meetings, and Dawkins can come speak to the team any time he wants. We also have an owner, Jeffrey Lurie, who is hands-on and cordial; he has lunch with some players, and always discusses the mindset and the standards that those earlier guys raised—and I think that standard is extremely important. Why? Look at what happened this season with one of our receivers, Riley Cooper, who was caught on video using the ‘n’ word at a concert. That incident had the potential to divide us. Instead, because of strong team leadership, we worked through the issue together; we forgave Riley and we were able to grow, both as a team and as individuals—Riley included.


Newton doesn’t need to learn how to be an offensive star.  He’s done a great job of that all his life.  He does need to continue to mature as a leader and professional.  This isn’t a knock on Cam, instead it’s an endorsement of his potential greatness.  This guy has the tools to be the best ever.  He’s an athletic phenom. He’s smart, articulate, and charismatic.  He’s got it all.  There is greatness in him that needs careful cultivation and pruning. Bringing in a guy like Avant will be a stabilizing factor in Cam’s development both on and off the field.

Avant won’t put up killer numbers, but Carolina doesn’t need him to.  What he will do is exude a supportive confidence in Cam’s ability that will help catapult Newton into the stratosphere.  The Character S-Avant will not quit.  He will not shrink or deflect blame.  He will build Cam up, and make some sick one-handed grabs in the process.




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.