Team checklist: Carolina Panthers

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In theory, the 2-14 Panthers should have more to do after the lockout than team in the league.  In reality, we think there are a handful of rosters out there in worse shape.

G.M. Marty Hurney and new coach Ron Rivera still have plenty of work ahead.  Here’s our post-lockout to-do list for Carolina:

1. Re-sign Charles Johnson or James Anderson.

Johnson is preferable because he plays a premium position.  Getting both players back would be even better, but we suspect that Johnson and Anderson’s quietly excellent play last year will get notice around the league.

You could make an argument Johnson is the best defender available this offseason behind Nnamdi Asomugha, so he’s not going to come cheaply.  Bringing back Anderson to help the run defense should be easier.

The Panthers may be able to keep both players cheaply if we return to 2010 league rules, but that seems unlikely.

2. Say goodbye to DeAngelo Williams.

Williams is a great player that just isn’t worth the cash for this team.  Jonathan Stewart is one of the ten most talented backs in the league. Carolina should spend their money elsewhere, and get a nice compensatory pick in return for Williams.

3. Trade Steve Smith.

It’s just the right time. His value remains reasonably high and both sides should want to see it happen, even if they are being coy publicly.

The Panthers have an underrated pair of young wideouts in Brandon LaFell and David Gettis worth checking out fully.  Signing a veteran for depth at receiver makes sense to help out Cam Newton, but don’t expect a huge investment at the position.

4. Find more defensive tackle help.

They addressed the position with two third round picks, but coach Ron Rivera admits they still need more.  If Johnson re-signs elsewhere, they need a starter at end too.

5. Evaluate Chris Gamble closely.

The Panthers need a cornerback or two to help out Captain Munnerlyn.  Richard Marshall seems likely to leave via free agency.  Chris Gamble is due $6.75 million; he has been inconsistent and ended last year injured.  It doesn’t hurt to see how he looks in camp before deciding his future.

If he’s not a premier starter anymore, the Panthers may as well cut bait.  Only 28, there’s still a chance Gamble could rebound.

6. Find Cam Newton a nursemaid.

Kerry Collins probably doesn’t want the job, but somone will.

We rank this low because ultimately the Panthers don’t want a veteran quarterback that will play much.  They want one that will be a good example to Newton in the quarterbacks room.

Matt Moore doesn’t make sense. Chad Pennington could if remotely healthy.  There also may be this guy named Delhomme available.

17 responses to “Team checklist: Carolina Panthers

  1. Yes, bring back Delhomme!

    Will never happen but I’ll get a laugh out of it.

  2. The Panthers will have an estimated $70M in cap once the CBA is ironed out.

    I don’t see why they wouldn’t try to resign DeAngelo Williams.

    Also, trading Smith for a third rounder or what not is going to leave them with a hole at WR. So, Smith will just need to be replaced. There are better ways to get an extra third-rounder, if that’s what they so desire.

  3. Jonathan Stewart is great & Goodson exploded last year. Also consider that Goodson was originally behind Tyrell Sutton on the depth chart. Let DeAngelo go.

    Talk about a missed opportunity for Sutton.

  4. I didn’t realize how good that Charles Johnson guy was last year. 11.5 sacks (while on the freaking Panthers!)

  5. I like Stewart a lot – but to call him “one of the five most talented backs in the league?”

    That seems like a bit of a stretch. Which of these guys do you put him ahead of:

    Adrian Peterson
    Chris Johnson
    Michael Turner
    Rashard Mendenhall
    Darren McFadden
    Jamaal Charles
    Steven Jackson
    Arian Foster (Sure, might be a one-year wonder but his 2200 yards from scrimmage last season only trail Stewart’s career numbers by 800 yards)
    Matt Forte
    Frank Gore
    Ahmad Bradshaw

    Is Stewart better than some of these guys (and a lot of the league)? Sure.
    Is he a top-5 talent at his position? Not yet.

  6. Off the top of my head (in no particular order):

    Chris Johnson, Frank Gore, Ahmad Bradshaw, MJD, AP, Ray Rice, Arian Foster, Charles Johnson, LeSean McCoy, Turner, Steven Jackson.

    All better than Jonathan Stewart.

    I get your point, money better spent elsewhere, but he’s not a top 10 back. Just sayin.

  7. This is definitely an outsider’s perspective. Insiders know that we will re-sign Charles Johnson–#1 priority. Anderson is not #2. Cutting or trading Gamble will be a luxury the Cats cannot afford; he is the starter with no backup. Besides, draft pick Hogan is recovering from an injury and will not be ready to play at the beginning of the season. Gettis and Lafell are up and coming, and the Panthers have 2 slot WRs who could be good players in Edwards and Pilares. Do not underestimate them.

    #1 priority-sign Charles Johnson
    #2 priority- sign a DT
    #3 priority-sign a CB
    #4 priority- sign a WR (Smith is gone)
    #5 priority- sign James Anderson
    #6 priority-sign Dante Rosario
    #7 priority-sign a veteran QB
    #8 priority-extend Beason’s contract
    #9 priority-sign Deangelo Williams
    #10 priority-sign Kalil long term

  8. First of all, for those who can’t read the article says Stewart is top 10, not 5, in the league. Second, Stewart is better than Bradshaw, McCoy(until he can be consistent), Forte by a mile, and as the starter could definitely be top 10 in the NFL. Next, we should have no problem re-signing Anderson and Johnson. Cutting Gamble now would be about as smart as the Delhomme contract was. Lastly, trading Smith now is pointless. The Draft is over, we would be w/o a #1, and an extra year in Carolina can help his value more than hurt it.

  9. Most if not all of those guys you mentioned are not in a time share in the back field either. Stewart is not even the best back on his team and I still rank him top 5 talent like the article said before he changed it to ten. Give them as many carries as the guys you mentioned and the stats would be better. Hope we keep them both…Two top five RBs in same backfield.

  10. I agree with everyone even as a panthers fan that J-Stew isn’t top 10 material yet…I think if he had a solid season starting he could very well be…but, we need to keep DeAngelo. Simply because he’s the most dynamic player on this team. I would say he replaced Steve Smith in ’08. Although Smitty is still a good player regardless of stats. If we lose both, we lose a awful lot of an already lacking offense.

    As for Johnson and Anderson on defense, keep in mind Thomas Davis is a FA too…they need to keep this core defense, Thomas Davis is the most expendable though. In all honesty they need to add another DE, because Everette Brown hasn’t proves he was worth the 2nd round selection. Adding a few veterans will help this team out a lot.

    Cam Newton does need a mentor, just not Pennington or Delhomme. Jake isnt going to come back just because Cam Newton is there. But I think it would help a little. Look at Matt Moore in ’09, when he had Delhomme as a mentor he was unreal, but when he didn’t have that veteran presence around him he just didn’t have it. Someone has to be there with a mop and an instruction tablet in case things get messy. I’d love to see Matt Hasselbeck get a two year deal but thats not gonna happen…

  11. “Cutting Gamble now would be about as smart as the Delhomme contract was. ”

    Who will play the #1 and 2 cb position if Gamble is indeed cut? Richard M stated they aren’t interested in resigning him. Ain’t Hogan is still recovering from acl surgery? Captain M is a nickle corner at best.

    Nnamdi A will sign with a contender. J Joseph stated he would like to remain a Bengal( was given a 1st and 3rd round tender if the tender exist in the new cba). Carlos R is decent, but injury prone and has stone hands. A Cromartie will probably demand top 5 money or take a paycut to resign with the Jets. Just have Gamble reconstruct his contract.

  12. Panthers have money to spend, and an owner who has promised the PSL owners he will. We might have Stewart, but when you have two backs who get along great and can be effective in the backfield together (Both had 1,100+ yards in same season) then why wouldn’t you keep both if you can? If you can have a great strength then you should do everything you can to keep it. Most teams who win less than 5 games don’t have an opportunity to be great at something.

  13. FYI-

    The article was edited and changed to say Jonathan Stewart was a top-10 running back. I’m a little more comfortable with that assessment.

    I know it originally said top-5, because I read it twice to be sure it wasn’t something weird like “top-5 in the conference.”

    Rosenthal totally hung me out to dry on that one.

  14. I think Williams and Stewart work best as a tandem. Both players compliment each other tremendously which is why they made NFL production history together. The CAR fans love DeAngelo and this is one Panther that will be returning. I think Jerry will make it happen.

  15. we have to keep Dangelo, he and Stew make our run game deadly, which will benefit Cam. The addition of Goodson will be a + as the season wears on, cause we will be doing ALOT of running the ball.

    Next, we have to trade Smitty now to get something good for him. We can live with Lefell and Gettis now that Shockey is a safety valve for Cam….but we do need a vet at WR, can someone say PLAX ( he will come cheap, and ready to prove himself, so we would get his best).

    3rd, vet back up QB…you guys are joking about it, but put ol #17 on the sideline with a clipboard.

    Last, look at Tommie Harris to fill in on the D Line and help bring our rookies along.

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