May 17, 2013
The Broncos, Manning's insurance, cap credit and Jon Beason
The Denver Broncos are covering their bases when it comes to a recently injured star and the salary cap.
According to a ProFootballTalk.com report, the Broncos restructured quarterback Peyton Manning's contract in a way that doesn't change the future Hall of Famer's compensation but instead helps the team with the cap in the event of an injury.
Manning is due to make $40 million in guaranteed money split over the next two seasons. The report states the Broncos added an insurance clause to Manning's contract that stipulates if Manning re-injures his neck (he had four surgeries on it in 2011) the contract can then refer to the insurance policy and Denver can receive a cap credit.
How does this work? Let's refer to Article 13, Section 6, Rule IV of the CBA:
In the event that a Club receives a refund from the player of any previously-paid Salary...such amount as has previously been included in Team Salary shall be credited to the Club's Team Salary for the next League Year... [I]nsurance proceeds received by a Team as beneficiary to cover the player's inability to perform services required by his Player Contract shall be deemed a "refund from the player" if (a) the Club or the player purchased the policy (b) the amounts covered by the policy are so specified in the Player Contract; and (c) the policy is made available for inspection upon request by the NFL or the NFLPA.
I've gotten a lot of tweets since the start of the offseason asking if Panthers LB Jon Beason will consider restructuring his deal. Those questions were resurrected Wednesday after the news of RB DeAngelo Williams restructuring his deal with the Panthers.
There are no indications the Panthers have approached Beason about restructuring his contract, which he inked in 2011 as a five-year, $51.5 million deal. Since then he's suffered an Achilles injury that sat him out nearly all of the 2011 season, and shoulder and knee injuries kept him out of three-quarters of last year.
At $8.4 million under the cap, the Panthers aren't under any great pressure to restructure another contract, especially one for a former Pro Bowl linebacker who just lost his starting middle linebacker position.
But an insurance policy on a high-priced, important but recently oft-injured part of your team? Denver just showed it can be done.
May 16, 2013
Quotes and notes from Panthers BP at Knights Stadium
FORT MILL, S.C.--In the newspaper business, sometimes you just run out of space.
I wanted to get in the news of the day along with some notes from the Panthers taking batting practice before the Charlotte Knights-Louisville Bats game Wednesday night. Instead, the news took over, and I ran out of space.
But the internet has infinite space, and here are the notes from last night that Charles Woodson beat out as if they were Peyton Manning in the 1997 Heisman Trophy race.
-As radio voice Bill Rosinski pointed out, if a baseball game happens to break out in the NFC South, the Panthers have a pretty good shot. New Panthers linebacker Chase Blackburn hit back-to-back home runs over the left-field wall in BP last night.
The former Giant finished the night with three homers. Of the 10 Panthers there, only S Haruki Nakamura joined him on the homer list with one.
Blackburn joins a Panthers team with a stout starting linebacking corps with Thomas Davis, Jon Beason and Defensive Rookie of the Year Luke Kuechly. He knows it'll be tough to unseat any one of those players for their spot but said he looks forward to working himself into the rotation.
"I’m happy to be around guys like this," said Blackburn, who added he expects to be a big part of Carolina's special teams units. "Our meeting room is a lot of fun because we know football and we talk a lot of football. I feel like it’s a great meeting room to be a part of it."
He also lived up to his last name on Wednesday. About an hour and a half before he went to the ballpark, he was attempting to plug in a WiFi airport when fire came out of the socket and burned his right bicep.
Blackburn figured it was a faulty wire, but the result left him with a nasty burn the circumference of a baseball. He bandaged the wound and proceeded to lead the team in home runs.
-Panthers coach Ron Rivera showed off his players and fans by switch hitting and throwing the knuckleball to players in BP.
Rivera found the shallow outfield a few times from the left side of the plate and fewer times from the right. But nonetheless, he was able to knock the ball from either side despite it being a while since he picked up a bat.
"I played a little bit of baseball and experimented and had a lot of fun with it," he said. "I was a catcher by trade and you were involved in the game constantly."
Rivera played through high school and even for a spell during his freshman year at Cal. He was on the JV team before football spring training began.
-Panthers right tackle Byron Bell made a late appearance to batting practice. Bell was wearing a throwback Chicago White Sox flatbill hat. He said it was just a coincidence he happened to be wearing the hat of the Knights' MLB affiliate.
Click here for photos from the event.
May 15, 2013
RB DeAngelo Williams restructures contract, Panthers now $8.4 million under cap
Just when it appeared as though 2013 would be DeAngelo Williams' final year in Carolina, the franchise's leading rusher has restructured his contract with the team.
The Observer's Joe Person confirms Williams has restructured his contract in a way that saves the Panthers $3.2 million in cap space in 2013 and potentially $8 million in cap space in 2014 and 2015, the final two years of his deal. The deal was first reported by Yahoo.com.
Williams, scheduled to earn $5 million in 2013 but carrying a cap hit of $8.2 million, will still earn the $5 million, but his cap number will reflect what he earns. His $4.75 million base salary and $250,000 workout bonus for 2013 was converted to an $850,000 base with a $150,000 bonus and a $4 million signing bonus.
That signing bonus is prorated through 2017 after the team stuck two "dummy years" at the end of his contract. Essentially, his contract will void at the end of the 2015 season, and the Panthers will have to account for $2.2 million in dead money in those two years.
The team is now $8.46 million under the 2013 salary cap.
Scheduled to make $13 million in his final two seasons, Williams' restructured contract will earn him $5 million, with the potential to earn up to $750,000 in salary escalators in each of those two years.
The end result: The Panthers could save as much as $8 million in cash while shaving $7 million in cap space in those final two contract years.
Williams inked a five-year, $43 million deal in 2011, but barely into the second year of that deal he saw his role reduced from starter to backup as the Panthers coaching staff handed the keys to Jonathan Stewart.
Quarterback Cam Newton led the team in rushing in 2012, becoming the first quarterback in the NFL to lead his team in that category since Donavan McNabb a decade earlier. And newly added fullback Mike Tolbert accounted for seven rushing touchdowns, the second-most on the team behind Newton.
And the writing on the wall became even clearer in April when the Panthers took Oregon RB Kenjon Barner in the sixth round of the draft. Panthers coach Ron Rivera said Barner could be used as a scat back, which would further reduce Williams' carries and role on the team.
While Stewart struggled with ankle injuries through most of the season, Williams finished last season with 737 yards on 173 carries and five scores.
May 14, 2013
Reggie White honored at Chattanooga high school
The late Reggie White was honored Monday night at his high school in Chattanooga as part of Allstate's "Hometown Hall of Famers" program.
White's father, Charles, presented White's widow, Sara, with a plaque last night at Howard School of Academics and Technology, where Reggie White graduated in 1980.
White played for the Panthers in 2000 in his final season. The 13-time Pro Bowler played in Philadelphia and Green Bay for 14 of his 15 NFL seasons before coming to Carolina. The Hall of Fame defensive end died on Dec. 26, 2004 at the age of 43.
“If Reggie was here he would tell you to make good choices in the classroom and in your every day lives,” said Sara White, according to an article on Chattanoogan.com.
“He would tell you to be disciplined in all aspects of your life, pursue your goals with passion and hang around people who will pull you up, not down.”
More than 600 Howard students, friends and family were in attendance Monday night to honor the two-time NFL Defensive Player of the Year. White starred at Howard before going to the University of Tennessee.
White came out of retirement after one year and joined the Panthers in 2000. He started all 16 games for Carolina and tallied 5.5 sacks and one forced fumble.
May 13, 2013
Panthers sign eight tryout players from weekend's minicamp
After clearing some roster room earlier today, the Panthers have signed eight tryout players from this weekend's rookie minicamp to deals.
The No. 1 overall pick in the Canadian Football League Linden Gaydosh is the biggest name of the eight players inked by the Panthers.
Gaydosh, listed as a defensive lineman coming out of the University of Calgary, is listed as a defensive tackle by the Panthers.
The team also added three wide receivers and a tight end. Former Wofford player Brenton Bersin rejoins the Panthers after being on the 90-man roster in training camp last year. Furman's R.J. Webb, who Panthers coach Ron Rivera said made a big catch during the first session of Saturday's practice, and Louisiana Tech's Taulib Ikharo are the other two receivers.
TCU TE Logan Brock and Washburn C Brian Folkerts round out the offensive additions.
Along with Gaydosh, the Panthers added Wisconsin DE Louis Nzegwu and Fresno State LB Ben Jacobs to the team.
The team is also expected to sign Centre College K Jordan Gay.
Keiser biggest name among Panthers' 5 cuts
Several hours after being cut by the Panthers on Monday morning, defensive end Thomas Keiser said he expects to land on his feet.
Keiser was the most surprising of the Panthers' first wave of cuts following their rookie minicamp during the weekend. Offensive lineman Zack Williams, a sixth-round pick in 2011, and three undrafted rookies also were released – linebacker Damario Jeffery, tight end Taylor Cook and Sam Houston State wideout Trey Diller.
Williams' release leaves the Panthers with just three of their picks left from the '11 draft – quarterback Cam Newton, defensive tackle Sione Fua and receiver/returner Kealoha Pilares.
Undrafted out of Stanford in 2011, Keiser tied Greg Hardy for second on the team with four sacks as a rookie.
But injuries to both elbows limited Keiser to four games last fall, when Hardy had a breakout season with 11 sacks.
The 6-4 Keiser, who played between 262-265 pounds, is a bit of a tweener. He played defensive end in a 4-3 scheme early in his college career before moving to outside linebacker when the Cardinal switched to a 3-4.
Keiser said he was preparing to play both positions for the Panthers this season, and could well end up with a 3-4 team.
“When I said good-bye to coach (Ron) Rivera, he said getting up in a 2-point stance could work out for me,” Keiser said.
Rivera said he expects to sign as many five players from the pool of 36 who tried out during the rookie camp. The list includes kicker Jordan Gay and defensive lineman Linden Gaydosh, both of whom have said they signed with the Panthers.
May 12, 2013
Panthers set to sign tryout players from weekend minicamp
The Panthers have already started adding to their roster following the completion of this weekend's rookie minicamp.
So far, two signings are known. Panthers coach Ron Rivera said Saturday he expects the team will sign four or five players from the pool of 36 who tried out.
Just like the first two rounds of the draft, Carolina added to its defensive line by signing lineman Linden Gaydosh, per his agent. Gaydosh, a former standout at the University of Calgary, was selected first overall by the Hamilton Tiger-Cats in last week's Canadian Football League draft.
The 6-foot-3, 314 pounder helped lead the Calgary Dinos to four consecutive Canada West titles.
Gaydosh was among the players who stood out to Rivera after the camp's second practice session Saturday afternoon.
"He looked really good. Thought he did some really nice things," Rivera said.
Here's an article from a Canadian perspective on what it means for a CFL team to lose its top overall draft pick to an NFL team--at least for training camp.
The team is also set to sign kicker Jordan Gay from Division-III school Centre College. Gay kicked and punted at Centre but was listed as a kicker at the Panthers' minicamp.
He went 8-for-17 on field goals and 32-for-32 on extra points last season while kicking a school-record 53-yard field goal.
Gay will go into training camp competing against incumbent starter Graham Gano, who signed a two-year deal with the team last season. Last training camp, newcomer Justin Medlock unseated incumbent Olindo Mare for the starting job before getting released midway through the season.
Check back for updates on other Panther signings. An official team announcement isn't expected until late afternoon Monday at the earliest.
For the list of tryout players, undrafted free agents and draft picks who participated at this weekend's camp, click here.
May 10, 2013
Full list of players at this weekend's Panthers rookie minicamp
There are 59 players at the Carolina Panthers' facilities today vying for a spot on the Panthers' 90-man roster.
Eighteen of the players have been signed as undrafted free agents, while another 36 here are tryout players. The remaining five players were drafted by the team two weeks ago.
Below is the full list of players, with a star beside their name denoting the tryout players.
WR Mike Avila*, RB Kenjon Barner, WR Brenton Bersin*, CB Brandon Bing*, T Joe Bonadies*, FB Eric Breitenstein*, TE Logan Brock*, WR Lamont Bryant, QB Colby Cameron, WR Trey Diller, RB Chris Douglas*, RT Darren Evans*, C Brian Folkers*, K Jordan Gay*, DT Linden Gaydosh*, S DeShawn Grayson*, LB Max Gruder*, T Jermarcus Hardrick*, WR Jordan Hills*, CB Nick Nixson, LB Max Holloway*, DE Wes Horton, WR Taulib Ikharo*, S Rod Issac*, LB Ben Jacobs*, DE Bryan Jean-Pierre*, LB Damario Jeffery, G Robert Jones, FB Bryson Kelly*, LB A.J. Klein, P Pete Kontodiakos*, G Edmund Kugbila, S Robert Lester, K Morgan Lineberry, DT Star Lotulelei, QB Matt McGloin*, G Tori Mobley, LS Tyler Morgan*, CB Armando Murillo*, C Korey Neal*, S Josh Nesbitt*, DE Louis Nzegwu*, DE Cyril Obiozor*, T Jaron Odom*, T Jesse Peterson*, DE Craig Roh, TE Nelson Rosario, RB Lyndon Rowells*, CB Isaiah Scott*, WR James Shaw, DT Kawaan Short, LB Quan Sturdivant*, P Ryan Tydlacka*, DT Casey Walker, WR R.J. Webb*, G Justin Wells, CB Melvin White, TE Brandon Williams, FB Michael Zordich.
May 09, 2013
Tryout players a necessity under new CBA
We started today asking Twitter followers what players are deserving of the Panthers' Hall of Honor, playing off Scott Fowler's blog that questioned why the Panthers' Hall is such a lonely place.
The Hall currently has 25,002 inductees, although 25,000 of the honorees are ceremonial – the team's PSL owners. Only two have statues – Mike McCormack, the team's first president and GM, and the late Sam Mills.
From that discussion, we move to the other end of the spectrum – the 35 to 40 guys coming to Charlotte this weekend to participate in the rookie minicamp as tryout players.
The NFL's new CBA put stricter guidelines on offseason workouts and minicamps. As such, teams have to bring in tryout players to have enough to line up for drills.
In the Panthers' case, they will have their five drafted players, 13 undrafted rookies, a handful of first- and second-year players (tight end Nelson Rosario among them) and the 35 or so players trying out.
There are a few familiar names among those on tryout contracts:
--ex-Penn State QB Matt McGloin, who tried out at the Redskins' minicamp last weekend;
--former North Carolina linebacker Quan Sturdivant, Arizona's sixth-round draft choice in 2011 who was on Kansas City's practice squad last season;
--Brenton Bersin, the former Wofford receiver who was in the Panthers' training camp last season.
All face long odds. The Panthers only signed one player from their tryout camp last year – offensive lineman Justin Wells, who signed in August following an injury to former offensive tackle Lee Ziemba.
Wells, a 6-4, 316-pound guard from Saint Augustine's, remains on the roster.
May 07, 2013
Storify: John Kasay's retirement news conference
John Kasay signed a one-day contract with the Carolina Panthers on Tuesday so that he could retire a Panther. His retirement news conference, as told by Twitter.