After a week-long spending spree that saw a one-year starter at defensive end get a $30 million signing bonus and a 28-year-old tailback who missed 10 games last season due to injury pocket $21 million in guaranteed money, Panthers owner Jerry Richardson is rubbing the burned hole in his pocket in the faces of those who would call him cheap.
“Does anybody feel just a little bad about calling me cheap last year? Just a smidgen?” Richardson told reporters on Wednesday, according to Steve Reed of CarolinaGrowl.com.
“The facts are we did exactly what we said we were going to do,” Richardson added. “What really precipitated this is we haven’t had back-to-back winning seasons and what we were doing wasn’t working. So we wanted to attempt to go young and draft our players. We kept everyone of our key core players, which is remarkable to me. I would have assumed some percent of them would have gone somewhere else.”
Some would say that keeping the core players from a 2-14 team isn’t exactly a great idea. Others would wonder whether Richardson opted to play it cheap in 2010 not because he’s cheap, but as part of the broader strategy to keep money in the owners’ pockets and out of the players’ hands as the threat of a lockout loomed.
Either way, Richardson is spending money freely now. Whether he’s spending it smartly remains to be seen.
That said, it seems to make more sense to spend the money on players who were with the team in 2010, given the compressed window of opportunity to prepare for the 2011 season. As the Eagles bring in more and more new players, the challenge of getting them all on the same page by September 11 will only become greater.