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November 13, 2005

Free agents Lucas, Wahle paying off

Free agency isn’t supposed to be a big part of the Carolina Panthers’ philosophy. This year, it was.

The word around the league back in March was the Panthers overpaid for cornerback Ken Lucas and guard Mike Wahle.

The Panthers won’t argue that statement and admit they saw a window and went all out for it, but it’s looking as if they’re getting their money’s worth.

Lucas is playing as well as any cornerback in the league and he’s still young. You can make a case that he single-handedly won the Jets and Cardinals games. How many cornerbacks can you say that about?

Wahle’s impact hasn’t been quite as visible, but that’s the nature of his position. His arrival has made a bad line respectable and it’s going to keep getting better. Think back to last year when the offensive line was costing the Panthers games. How many times have you said that this year?

The Panthers like to say they get core players through the draft and fill holes with free agents. They got two core players in Wahle and Lucas. They also made one other free-agent move that didn’t get a lot of attention, but is paying off nicely. Safety Marlon McCree didn’t get a lot of money, but he’s been a solid member of the secondary.

JOHNNY SOMINEX: Did a show on Sirius Satellite Radio on Saturday that produced one of the funniest and most appropriate one-liners ever. Dan Leberfeld of "Jets Confidential" was one of the show’s co-hosts and the topic was how Panthers coach John Fox and Jets coach Herman Edwards were college teammates at San Diego State.

In a conference call with the Carolina media earlier last week, Edwards revealed Fox’s college nickname was "Crash’’ for his willingness to hit people.

Leberfeld hadn’t heard that and was asked to guess what Fox’s nickname had been.

"Sominex?’’ Leberfeld said.

He then went on to say how boring Fox had been in his conference call with the New York media. No kidding! It’s that way every day with Fox. Although he has a gregarious personality, he clams up with the microphones are on because he doesn’t want to provide any bulletin-board material or give away any strategy.

It can be maddening for the media. But the bottom line is, it doesn’t matter because the guy can flat-out coach.

OWENS POLL: The guys at KFFL.com polled their correspondents for all 32 NFL teams (I’m their Panthers representative) and asked if there was any chance each team might have interest in adding wide receiver Terrell Owens.

Twenty-five correspondents answered an emphatic "No.’’ Four (Browns, Cowboys, Jets and Bucs) said "Maybe." The three "Yes’’ answers came from Denver, Miami and Oakland.

Posted by Observer Sports on November 13, 2005 at 11:33 PM | Permalink

Comments

I wonder if TO has second thoughts about hiring Drew Rosenhaus?

And Moss and TO in Oaktown together? Not even S-PIN's might hype machine could handle that.

Posted by: JAT | Nov 14, 2005 9:53:31 AM

Oakland can add every great receiver in history, but if their O-line and QB are marginal, they're not going anywhere.

Big name free agents are a gamble. You should only sign them if you're only a couple of puzzle pieces away from a championship.

I think the 2003 and 2004 seasons proved that we were in exactly that situation and that's why we invested heavily in Lucas and Wahle.

Posted by: Jonathan in MA | Nov 14, 2005 12:53:32 PM

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