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February 27, 2009

Early free agency observations

A few thoughts on free agency now that the signing and trading periods officially have opened:

(x) The Panthers truly are fortunate, and deserve credit, for signing Jordan Gross to a long-term contract extension last Thursday to keep him off the free agent market. Gross is a classy, humble guy, and he was right on when he said there likely would have been a "feeding frenzy" to  sign him if he had hit the market as an unrestricted free agent. He easily would have been the top offensive lineman available. After all, he was the first-team all-pro left tackle. Though his new Carolina contract pays him $30.5 million over the first three years, a record for an offensive linemen, he probably could've made more.

(x) Evidence of how hot a commodity Gross would have been is found in the fact that his good buddy Geoff Hangartner, a backup guard-center extraordinaire for the Panthers, already has a visit scheduled to Buffalo on the first day of free agency, per NFL.com. Hangartner has earned the right to start full-time and the Bills might be just the spot for him after their release of guard Derrick Dockery.

(x) It sure didn't take long for Tennessee unrestricted free agent defensive tackle Albert Haynesworth to land with the Redskins with a seven-year contract worth $100 million that is said to include $41 million in guarantees. Haynesworth, regarding as the best defensive tackle in the league, was reportedly swarmed with enormous offers. The same type of thing could've been happening for Julius Peppers if the Panthers hadn't franchised him. Of course, Peppers made it clear he was looking for the right fit and not just the highest payout, but suffice it to say he would have had plenty of big offers. Now, the chances look slim that there will be a trade involving Peppers for at least three reasons: 1) Teams are so reluctant to give up first-round picks; 2) Peppers has a short list of prospective new teams and getting all the elements to work for a deal would be difficult; and 3) The Panthers have made it clear they want to keep him. The franchise tag is intended to be restrictive, and it is.

-- Charles Chandler 

Posted by Observer Sports on February 27, 2009 at 04:30 AM | Permalink


They should trade him and Ken Lucas as soon as possible so we can pick up somebody decent in the free agency before its too late.And he made it very clear that he doesnt want to be here.Some of the names I like. :)

DE Chris Canty Dal
DE Antonio Smith Az
DT Rocky Bernard Sea
CB Jabari Greer Buf
CB Philip Buchanon TB

Posted by: panthers | Feb 27, 2009 5:30:16 AM

The early look -- Panthers are hosed.

It is feeding frenzy out there. Instead of being cowed by uncertainty about the Collective Bargaining Agreement in 2010 and beyond, teams are going nuts. Example: Canty will likely be the subject of a bidding war.

As a result, I am actually seeing a shade of CC's view on Peppers. The situation may be frozen due the extreme price point being set.

But meanwhile the Cats lose all their depth, don't add a 1st, have to bottom-feed to fill the roster.

Posted by: JAT | Feb 27, 2009 6:05:14 AM

JAT makes an excellent point. Not much althernative to what happened or there would have been no option but let Peppers walk. Now the options for him are play extremely well again on the one year tender, play like his did in 2007 and act disgruntled, hold out for the season, sign a long term contract, or be traded. I think the percentages favor only the first two choices, and I think he either walks with no compensation next year with another 2007 year or forces the hand for a second franchise tag with another 2008 year. Either option means no first round pick and filling back-up roles with cast offs from other teams. These are not good scenarios.

Posted by: PantherFancier | Feb 27, 2009 6:31:21 AM

I just read on NFL.com that we are the team with the lowest cap space @ 1.9M

Posted by: ANILORAC OG | Feb 27, 2009 7:25:38 AM

Why all the doom and gloom? The Panthers, thanks to Marty, have positioned themselves perfectly this offseason. No they won't be a major player in free agency. Good. Every year, Oakland and Washington set the bar higher for overpaying underachievers and look where it's got them. We will continue to build our team through attrition and the draft (it's inevitable that you will lose some of your good players-good luck Hangman).
No, we don't have a 1st rounder. But we do have Jeff Otah, already one of the best run blockers in the NFC, and he's been seasoned for a year. Peppers is the one who's stuck. If he wants out, he'll agree to a trade of the Panthers' liking. This WILL happen. Plenty of teams who are intrigued by Peppers' potential. 1st and 3rd should suffice. Anything more is gravy. If not, we still have one of the best DE's in the game.
If we get a 7th rounder or higher for Lucas, I'd be happy. Beats releasing him for nothing. Turn those frowns upside and stay positive. The Panthers' are on the right track.

Posted by: gradyhog | Feb 27, 2009 7:55:37 AM

We have ALL 22 starters back from a team tht won it's division and was the second seed in the NFC playoffs, there is NO other NFL team that has all their starters back. Godfrey was a rookie, he'll be better. Otah was a rookie, he'll be better. Stewart was a rookie, he'll be better. Beason will even be better. CJ Wilson is capable at corner. The sky is not falling. With some DL help and a surprise or two, solid draft, we will compete again this year, and will have a gret shot at division (you think Tampa is gonna be a house of wonders after they gutted all their veterans? a few losses and everyone there will question everything they've done. You think Atlanta can repeat thier inspired play? maybe. NewO., they just don't worry me too much. So lighten up francis, the panthers are gonna be ok.

Posted by: Isaiah | Feb 27, 2009 8:12:16 AM

Wow. For a change this board is filled with intelligient comments. Peppers and his agent thought they were holding the cards. Hurney called their bluff and the table has turned. With his excellent drafts and smart negotiations Hurney is proving himself one of the best GM's in the game.

Posted by: Jim | Feb 27, 2009 8:29:24 AM

I hate to see Peppers suit up this season while he doesn't want to be here. Make an trade and move on makes more sense to me.
A first and a third pick would be enough from an AFC team with a top 20 pick. Maybe Houston would trade giving Dunta Robinson (CB) and a second round pick. I'd do that in a minute.

Posted by: GooseCreek | Feb 27, 2009 9:02:58 AM

Im with gradydog on this one guys...all good points. If pep wants out that bad he's gona take what he can get. Not to mention if a team is willing to give up a 1st and 3rd they probably feel that they're only a player or two away anyhow...ala vikings getting allen. So its not like a poor team will offer up much. Our best bet is that the broncos, having some of our old personel, decide he's worth it. They cant feel that far away in that division ever, and usually score a ton of points...leaving pep to rush the QB. Or maybe im just dreaming...Otherwise, i think we can get a 4th to 5th for Lucas...that really clear some cap. By the way DELHOMME TAKE A PAY CUT!

Posted by: randy | Feb 27, 2009 9:45:48 AM

One injury to the offensive line and you can kiss the 09 season goodbye. All of the o-line depth either was cut or allowed to walk out the front door Friday morning. Doesn't matter how good D-Will and Stewart are if there are no holes to run through. Procton's Cajun messiah, Joke Gohomme, plays like a JV third stringer under pressure. Our biggest strength last season, the o-line, is now possibly a weakness with one torn knee ligament. Sad that Gross took advantage of the Panthers situation to sign such a huge extension. Worse is the Cajun messiah Gohomme didn’t offer to restructure his 11 million cap number to try to keep some of our o-line reserves. Thought Gohomme was a “great leader.” Well leaders put those they lead ahead of themselves. Enough of Ken Lucas already. Refusing to restructure his contract so he couldn’t be traded. Give him a pink slip now. He couldn’t cover a WR if he was super glued to him.

Posted by: J Thomas | Feb 27, 2009 10:09:15 AM

The Panthers scedule is tougher next year. I predict a 9-7 record if we are lucky. Without a better QB we are standing still. We need consistency from QB to win the Super Bowl.

Posted by: Kelso | Feb 27, 2009 8:14:44 PM

If you want to upgrade this team and win a Super Bowl get a new QB. He has never been a consistant QB and is average at best. Every team we play knows he can't pass so they just defend the run.

Posted by: Jim Deni | Feb 28, 2009 11:51:08 AM

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