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March 26, 2007

Minter, Rucker deals show Panthers' heart

   PHOENIX – In a league that’s often heartless, the Carolina Panthers are showing a lot of sentiment this spring.

   In the cases of veteran safety Mike Minter and defensive end Mike Rucker, the Panthers are bucking a trend they’ve followed in the past and a trend that’s been the norm in the league for years. Minter and Rucker aren’t going the way of Brentson Buckner and Wesley Walls – expensive veterans, who were released for salary cap reasons.

   Minter and Rucker are sticking around for one could be a final season for each of them after recently restructuring their contracts. These weren’t simple restructures, where up-front bonus money is traded for base salary to create salary cap room. These were significant pay cuts.

   Give the Panthers credit for showing humanity with two of the more popular players in franchise history. Keeping Minter and Rucker around may help with community relations and their veteran presence only helps the locker room. But the pay cuts are a pretty strong sign the Panthers expect playing time for Minter and Rucker to decrease. Safety and defensive end will be looked at hard in the draft as the Panthers try to get younger at both positions.


The right stuff?

Add Anthony Wright to the list of potential backup quarterbacks for the Panthers. His agent has had some talks with the Panthers, who aren’t exactly jumping up and down to make a move for the eight-year veteran from South Carolina. Wright and Joey Harrington (and maybe others) are on Carolina’s radar.

   But the Panthers are in no big rush to make a move and may wait for the trickle-down effect from other teams making trades and other moves at quarterback. Wright, who has played for Pittsburgh, Dallas, Baltimore and Cincinnati, also is drawing interest from the Atlanta Falcons, who also have been talking to former Tampa Bay backup Tim Rattay.

Posted by Observer Sports on March 26, 2007 at 12:32 PM | Permalink


Being sentimental never won any football games. Minter and Rucker are still going to start because we don't have anyone else. I think we'll draft Patrick Willis with the 14th pick and a TE in the 2nd round. There is no way all of the top 5 TEs will be gone before our 2nd rd pick. We can't expect to draft a starting DE or S in the 3rd rd and we aren't signing any free agents. There are still some available, but none are visiting the Panthers.

By the way, the Panthers went 7-9 and Wesley Walls retired. Then he came out of retirement to play with a contender, the Packers. Then we went to the Superbowl without him.

Anthony Wright is probably the only QB available with a salary we're willing to pay a backup.

Posted by: charlson | Mar 26, 2007 1:29:12 PM

Are you kidding me? No starting safety or DE by the third round? Why not? Wasent it the Saints just last year who drafted a WR in the 7th round of last years draft who walked away with a starting player? I dont understand why everyone is jumping on the "we need to draft a TE very early in the draft" bandwagon. Jeff King to me is very capable of filling the job and done a fine job when given the chanch last season in passing situations. Draft one in the 3rd-5th round we have alot more pressing needs right now and number one is safety. Morgan may be a risk but Minter is the only safety we have and we all know his paying has been on the decrease. So behind him we HAVE to get a starting safety in the draft and I dont trust the talent after the Second round there. Our D Line will be fine next season and there are not any real threats at WR after Smith (Especially if Keyshawn Retires). I say If Ted Ginn Jr. Is available in the 1st take him he can be a deep threat and be used in punt and kickoff returns where we were LAST IN THE LEAGUE LAST YEAR. 2nd round safety and then 3rd MLB or DE. If not go ahead with Safety, MLB, then WR

Posted by: Steven L. | Mar 26, 2007 5:44:38 PM

You are a complete idot if you think we need a WR instead of a TE. Jeff King caught one pass last year. Look it up, Steven L, ONE PASS his whole career, which has been only 12 games. If you want a safety or LB in the 1st rd, i can agree, but a WR. Come on. You've got to be joking. There is no TE bandwagon. Our starter retired. And if you think a guy like Colston is going to be available in seventh round, it's because you don't know football. SUre, there are one or two late round picks who end up as starters, but most don't even make the team. Keenan McCardell was a 12th round pick over a decade ago, but that's about as relevant as Colston from last year. You don't draft a return guy in the 1st round if that's all he's going to be. You can do that later, and draft a starter in the first couple rounds. Do I have to explain everything to you?

Posted by: charlson | Mar 26, 2007 6:16:03 PM

Another league meeting note: Compensatory draft picks are released during the meetings, and despite what has been said, I read today that we might have a shot at one. The problem is McCadam and Shaun Williams, who are right on the borderline with regards to their salaries. If they don't qualify, then we could get a 7th round pick for Dante Wesley, or even a 4th for Witherspoon, which would certainly soften the blow of losing him--at least a little bit. Here's the link if anybody is interested: http://www.footballsfuture.com/phpBB2/viewtopic.php?p=2069328#2069328 .

Posted by: Michael Procton | Mar 26, 2007 6:25:23 PM

There is no way that we don't draft a safety in the first round. We have none. Round one safety, two MLB, and three WR/KR(Allison of ECU). Day two, safety, DE, corner, and OB

Posted by: Unrealistic Madden trades | Mar 26, 2007 6:34:49 PM

I agree with the last guy, we get a safety first, and then a LB. I think we should get a TE in the 3rd rd, but it epends on if there is one available who is better than the best available wr/kr. i also think a lot of our problems in the return game were due to blocking and not just the return guy. Chris Gamble was a great return guy in college, but that wasn't evident last year by any means.

Posted by: charlson | Mar 26, 2007 7:06:03 PM

The problem with picking a safety over an LB is the value of our position. Picking a safety (which most NFL teams hate doing in the first round anyway) would be even worse at our position, where we're likely too low to get Landry, but we're a good 5-8 picks higher than we need to be to get Nelson, whose run support capacity has been questioned. Unless we trade up for Landry or get a good offer to trade down for Nelson, I say you've got to get Willis (unquestionable best MLB prospect in the draft, but capable of playing all 3 positions, putting him in a battle to start on the outside until Morgan gets hurt) and then look at a guy like Meriweather in the 2nd.

Posted by: Michael Procton | Mar 26, 2007 10:40:56 PM

I think there are a couple safeties better than Nelson, but it depends on who's available. I heard the Panthers are looking to get Greg Olsen, and I hope so, but if Willis is still available, then that would be a hard choice. I would take Olsen, Willis, or Posluszny before a safety, but our safeties really did stink it up last year. I think we should draft one of those guys and sign a free agent safety to hold us over until next year. When do we pick in the 2nd round, will a good safety be available?

Posted by: charlson | Mar 27, 2007 9:13:25 AM

I believe that there are several safeties that will be availible after the first round, I strongly suggest that the Panthers pick up Patrick Willis with the fourteenth pick either him or the other LB from Penn St. Morgan is not the answer, and we need to have a strong 'backer in on defense learning and learning to lead. I don't trust having a safety being the defensive QB and Willis has shown that he is a good character guy as well as an extremely good athelete. I think he would fit perfectly with us.

Posted by: Palmetto Panther | Mar 27, 2007 10:58:18 AM

Pozluzny, while a great college player, is limited in what he can do and what positions he can play. 14 is WAY too high to grab him.

Posted by: Michael Procton | Mar 27, 2007 11:40:00 AM

14 may be too high for Poluszy, but if Nelson, Willis or Olsen are available, we'll pick one of them anyway. I think going with Olsen is the way to go. Adding a pass catching TE who can stretch the field as a 6'6" guy who runs a 4.5 40, he'll be a great compliment to the passing game. LBs can't cover him and CBs are too small. If he draws the safety, then that should help with the run game, but we'll have to wait and see how the play calling goes.

Posted by: charlson | Mar 27, 2007 12:13:25 PM


Posted by: Jackson | Mar 27, 2007 12:15:20 PM

Jackson, let's hope you keep your word and never post again. No one is interested in your dumbass posts about this Jesus. This is a football forum. Either say something about football or go suck a lemon.

Posted by: Ryan | Mar 27, 2007 12:44:05 PM

BTW, Anthony Wright is terrible. Why are the Panthers considering him? It's bad enough that they pay a no talent retread like Del Homme so much money to throw interceptions, now they are going take on another old, weak, terrible QB? Anyone remember Rodney Peete? Who is doing the WB talent evaluations for the Panthers these days? Dom Capers?

Posted by: Ryan | Mar 27, 2007 12:48:16 PM

I hear a lot of good points from all of you a pass catching Tight End (like Olsen) who can catch, block to help the run, and open up pass coverage down field is great!!! A safety with good speed and the ability to break up the pass is also great (remember we just signed Deke Cooper for one year. However I'll have to agree with Procton that a Middle Line Backer is the way to go for us. To find a defensive anchor with the physical abilities and prowess of Willis (Miss) are unparallel. Willis' skill set is comparable to Brian Urlacher when he came out of college... only better. Him at our pick would be a definite homerun for us, unfortunately I see Buffalo (lost London Fletcher-Baker and Takeo Spikes) or San Fran picking him off before we can get to him. If he's unavailable then Olsen (as much as I hate to say it should be our next logical target... it would be hard for defenses to shift coverage and his presence will definitely open up our run game).

I know this sounds illogical given our safety situation but they have good safeties available in the second round like Merriweather (4yr starter at Miami).

Posted by: Caro2daheart | Mar 27, 2007 1:19:18 PM

I think we're better off with the TE, but we desparately do need another LB. I think the Panthers think they're set at LB, though. We have Thomas Davis and Na'il Diggs (who was recently re-signed) on the outside, and the staff might be assuming that Morgan will go 16 games, or at least 12. They have confidence in Adam Seward and James Anderson (not sure why). Based on that, we have a more pressing need for a TE. Gaines caught 12 passes and King caught ONE. Our offense will be much better and stay on the field longer with a guy Jake can dump the ball to instead of throwing interceptions in the end zone. Then we get a LB or S (best available) in the 2nd rd, and go from there. It just seems to me that the staff is overestimating how good our LBs will play this year, and if they stink it up, just like the safeties, then Bill Cowher will be our coach the year after that.

Posted by: charlson | Mar 27, 2007 1:37:02 PM

No reason not to have confidence in James Andersonn or Adam King, charlson. Both were productive players on the college level, though it was said about both that they'd need a bit of time to adjust to the game. I just read an article the other day from pre-draft last year that listed both as sleepers who had the opportunity to be impact guys once they learned their new teams' system. To get them for a 3rd and a 7th implies that we weren't looking for them to be worldbeaters, but our track record lately on late-rounders (Montgomery, McClover, Ben Emanuel-starter in the secondary for SF, Hangartner, Gaines, Carter) has been pretty decent. King came into training camp last year without much of an opportunity given the number of guys ahead of him. Honestly, I like the completeness of his game a lot better than a guy like Olsen, whose blocking is suspect at best. Regardless of the changes at OC, the game plan will still be predicated on having a power run game, and for this, you need grinders like Mangum (he'll be missed more than most realize), Goings, Hoover, etc. who will do the dirty work blocking in the trenches. As for Anderson, he was again stuck in a numbers game, but looked very good when given the opportunity (see@NO). I definately see him starting at OLB at some point this year.

Posted by: Michael Procton | Mar 27, 2007 1:55:41 PM

Well suppose you're right about King and Anderson. I don't think you are, but i'm going to apply your points to the draft. What we know about Olsen is his size, speed and ability to catch the ball. If we want to keep the ball longer and score more points, we should draft Olsen. As for JEFF King, if he couldn't beat out Mangum or Gaines for playing time, then he's probably not good enough to make an impact this year as our starting TE. If he is a better blocker than Olsen, then it would make sense to use him in two TE sets like the Colts, provided he can beat out Gaines for playing time. However, if he is as good as you think, and Anderson is a viable option at LB, then we should draft a safety first. If Anderson is good enough to be a sarter, then we'll have him, Diggs, Davis and Morgan. I'm not sure which would play MLB when Morgan goes down, but drafting a LB on the first day would be a good move. As for the power running game, I've heard that we are looking to get a couple linemen in the draft, just not in the first couple rounds. We'll have to wait and see.

Posted by: charlson | Mar 27, 2007 3:17:49 PM

haha...you're right about King, it is Jeff...my bad. I have no idea where I canme up with adam. There are many faults people complain about when it comes to Fox and Henning, and one of them I'm willing to give them is that they may be/have been overly loyal, to a fault, even. As such, it would have been tough for ANY player to come in and get a lot of PT at TE last year given that Gaines was our most inexperienced player, and he'd been with the team for 2+ years (with 12 starts to boot). Look at it this way, though...King's never caught a pass that didn't go for a TD! As for Anderson, I do believe he can be a quality starter at OLB, which I don't really believe Diggs is. We can keep him as a backup, I guess, but I'd rather cut him...he's not a special teamer (less ST tackles than ERIC SHELTON!). Furthermore, we need the MLB in the first because none of those guys other than Morgan are really capable of doing even a decent job. Willis should probably fall right around our spot, whereas Landry and Nelson are both at least 5 picks away in either direction in terms of value. As far as the O-line goes, I honestly feel like we have the guys we need on the roster, they just need to stay healthy. I don't know how many teams could have handled losing 3 starters on the line (including the LT and C) and done as well as we did, but it ain't many. And for all the whiners about our lack of action on the FA market, consider Hartwig a marquee FA pickup since he didn't play last year.

Posted by: Michael Procton | Mar 27, 2007 5:13:20 PM

I was glad to see Henning go. Weinke's first start in three years and he threw the ball 61 times. The last time anyone threw that many passes in a game was...Weinke, throwing 63 times in his last start of our worst season. Then two games later we run the ball a team record 52 times.

If Jeff King is as good as you say, then I agree. If not, we should get Olsen. You say Diggs isn't a starter, but if we get Olsen, and Morgan gets hurt, then Diggs will be. If we get Willis in the first round and Morgan stays healthy, maybe Davis goes back to SS like he did as a rookie (but I don't think he was that good at it.)

I also think that Ben Patrick will be a good TE in this league, and I'm sure he'll be available in the second or third round if we Willis and then a safety or OL. I think we have to draft OL somewhere in there as insurance against injuries, maybe fourth or fifth round.

Posted by: charlson | Mar 27, 2007 6:10:58 PM

I like the Ben Patrick idea, and I think that drafting a TE later, in general is a decent idea. A guy like Zach Miller might even be around with our 2nd pick, and he was regarded as possibly the best TE in the draft until the combine. As for the TE class in general, it's true that Olsen is hands down the best TE in the draft, but behind him, it's a bunch of guys all lumped together...so somebody like Patrick or Miller or Scott Chandler could still be a solid pick. I even like a guy like Johnny Harline or Matt Herian, who could come real late in the draft according to most rankings.

Posted by: Michael Procton | Mar 27, 2007 9:27:21 PM

I don't know Harline and Herian, but so far we've been able to get decent performance from our late round picks. I like Willis in the first round, but some say the Bills will get him, unless Adrian Peterson is still available at 12, which I doubt is going to happen. If the Bills get Willis, we could get Posluszny who supposedly can play any LB position, or Nelson. People have said neither of those guys are worth the 14 pick, but I disagree. I think anyone you get that becomes a full-time starter for a decade is worth it, unless that person is a top 5 pick. Then they should be the franchise player. Last year the Bills got Donte Whitner 8th, and everyone said it was a bad pick, but he's going to start there for years and get a couple pro bowls.

Either way, we should get a LB or S in the first and a TE second. However, if Olsen is available and Willis is gone, it may be smart to get Olsen. It just seems he TE class is deeper than the LB and S class this year.

Posted by: charlson | Mar 28, 2007 12:10:04 PM

Harline was at BYU...he transferred ther in his junior year and caught for 853-5 and 935-12 in his 2 years there. If you're an EA NCAA '07 player, he's one of the top ten TEs in the game (for whatever that's worth). As for Herian, he's a guy who has had some tough injuries, but has looked incredible when he's been on the field. Just a few late-round super-sleepers.
Pos again shows the problem of where we pick in relation to our needs. He's got the heart of a lion and was a great college player, but his value is probably below our pick, and I saw people talking about a pick of him at 20 would be a reach, so 14 would be even worse. Beyond the obvious injury concerns with a once-shredded knee, I also heard that scouts weren't enamored with the way he played once he moved to the middle (which he's only done in a 3-4.)

Posted by: Michael Procton | Mar 28, 2007 12:46:32 PM

Uh-oh...I just saw Ben Patrick compared to...Mike Seidman...AAH!

Posted by: Michael Procton | Mar 28, 2007 1:50:50 PM

I would hate to draft a guy in the second rd who is no better than our current back-ups. I think we should get Olsen, but if we can get a non-Seidman like, non injury prone pass catching TE after the 1st rd, then Willis should be our first pick. As for safety, who ranks as the best seems to change with everyone who's doing analysis. If the OL can remain healthy and we can impliment a good pass catching TE, then our offense will more closely resemble the team that went to the Superbowl. Then we get a starting LB and S in the draft, and we could be Super Bowl bound again.

Posted by: charlson | Mar 28, 2007 3:24:05 PM

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