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February 28, 2009

Hangartner excited about opportunity

Geoff Hangartner says he’ll miss his friends in the Carolina Panthers’ locker room, but he’s thrilled to reach his goal of becoming a full-time NFL starter.

The Buffalo Bills signed him today to a four-year contract and made him their starting center. Hangartner started eight games for the Panthers last season at center and guard when other players were injured.

Over the past three years, he has 27 starts, which put him in prime position for opportunities elsewhere when the NFL’s free agency signing period opened Friday.

As an unrestricted free agent, Hangartner immediately drew the attention of the Bills, who desperately needed a center.

His trip to Buffalo was interrupted by flight delays, but once he arrived, meetings went well with Buffalo coaches and officials, and the deal was struck.

“I’m really excited to go to Buffalo,” Hangartner said in a telephone interview with the Observer tonight. “They gave me a chance to be their starting center, which is what I’ve been looking for.

“It’s a really class organization and I’m really impressed with all the people up there. I think they’ve got some good talent up there … I think it’s a team on the rise.”

Hangartner is close to Panthers left tackle Jordan Gross and other players and said he’ll miss being around those friends.

“The reason it’s tough leaving is because I have a lot of great relationships with people in (the Carolina) organization,” he said. “I’ve spoken with a few guys from the Panthers and they all seemed happy for me. That’s what’s hard to leave.

“But I felt this is what’s best for me.  I feel like I’ve got a lot of experience and I’m ready to be a starter. That’s really been my goal for a while.”

In his new job, Hangartner will be assigned to block some top nose tackles in the NFC East, including former Carolina teammate Kris Jenkins, now with the New York Jets.

“I guess fortunately or unfortunately, I’ve got a lot of experience (in practice) going against Jenks,” said Hangartner. “He’s a great player and it’ll be a challenge. I’m really looking forward to it.”

-- Charles Chandler

Posted by Observer Sports on February 28, 2009 at 09:08 PM | Permalink


Unrelated to this (though I will say best of luck to Geoff in Buffalo), but any chance the Panthers offer Peppers (& Delhomme?) and whatever else it takes to try and pry Cutler from Denver?

I'm not on the "no Delhomme next year" bandwagon (largely because the other options, Cassel included, weren't very good), but this would be a real upgrade, and would only cost us a DE that wants out and a QB that probably wouldn't want to be a back-up.

Posted by: UtesFan89 | Feb 28, 2009 9:29:11 PM

Geoff will be missed, but he certainly deserved a starting job somewhere.

Posted by: jeff | Feb 28, 2009 9:36:54 PM

too bad we couldn't have kept him, but he does deserve a shot at starting somewhere since he has proved his worth with the Panthers. will miss him. although he deserves this outright on his own, if the cap money wasn't so tight due to pep and the 1+ mil per game he will draw, maybe we could have made a run at keeping him. oh well, too late now.

Posted by: give-hang-some-pep-money | Feb 28, 2009 9:53:03 PM


I'd pull the trigger on that trade in a heartbeat. But Josh McDaniels is not that stupid. The guy will be a great head coach.

Posted by: J Thomas | Feb 28, 2009 9:56:04 PM

I'm really happy for Hangartner and the wonderful opportunity he has. He's earned it, and he will be a big loss for us. I still am mystified how we can let a young guy (4 yrs) with that versatility go and keep Vincent (9 yrs) and injury prone. Vincent is great, but I did not see that much of a drop off when he was out and Hangartner was in.

Posted by: PantherFancier | Feb 28, 2009 10:01:12 PM

It seems that McDaniels wants "his guy" though. Delhomme could start for a year before hitting FA and letting him find that QB. On the other hand, Cutler has at least 3 years left.

And the fact he even considered Cassel for Cutler speaks volumes about his stupidity, I think.

Posted by: UtesFan89 | Feb 28, 2009 10:06:27 PM

well its gonna be a tough season next year i dont see why were not going for T.J. at WR and Ray Lewis and just let Peppers walk

Posted by: birdman760 | Feb 28, 2009 10:06:37 PM

you can't just let pep walk without getting something for him. if he doesn't want to be here, fine. and maybe the fans don't want to show the support they have for him in the past, cool. he has done that to himself, with the aid of his agent. but the panther mgmt has to protect their business aspect of the situation just like the players who state that is what drives much of their decisions. unlike the days of old, there is no loyalty to team or personnel anymore. ray lewis would be a huge plus to the team and i would love to see him here, but no way will that happen with the huge amount of money we will have to pay pep in the coming year. ray vs pep, i'll take ray any day... but probably not in the scope of what's going on in john or marty's plans at this time. too bad, cause with his dedicated play, ray is THE difference maker we could use.

Posted by: give-hang-some-pep-money | Feb 28, 2009 10:37:40 PM

All i can say is, i hope the money you guys
spent on keeping Peppers is worth it. No team
in their right mind is gonna give up two first
round picks or a player and a pick for a guy
at 30, doesn't even show passion or killer instinct at his position. You all could have used that money to retain those great back-up OL you just lost. If your OL starters go down, you guys are finished.

Posted by: skynz71 | Feb 28, 2009 11:02:05 PM

Utesfan 89,

I got on here to comment on the very same thing. I have always supported Delhomme,BUT Cutler was the best QB out of that draft and he has a rocket arm. Denver will not want Delhomme. Right now Carolina is 1.9 mil under the cap. Trade Peppers to Denver for Cutler and their 2nd round pick. With that 2nd round pick draft a guy like Micheal Johnson from Georgia Tech pick up a couple free agents who have to work for their $$$. Cut Delhomme then we would have our QB of the future and have about 28mil to spend on Free agency. Cmonnn Hurney. This much I can say "If we had Jake Cutler, Smitty would not have to slow down for those long balls!!!!"

Posted by: wowo | Feb 28, 2009 11:23:10 PM

PF, the choice wasn't that simple. Vincent's on the cap for about $1 million next year. Hangartner is probably about 500% of that number.

Utes, the Broncos didn't "consider" giving up Cutler. They took a call and a proposal from other teams.

Posted by: Michael Procton | Feb 28, 2009 11:44:43 PM

Hate to agree with the enemy but skynz71 is right.

Posted by: J Thomas | Feb 28, 2009 11:46:41 PM

So far nobody wants to give up two first round picks for Peppers.I guess they will have to settle for less..just before the draft begins maybe for 1st and 3rd picsk or 2nd and 3rd if nobody wants him?Obviously the Panthers doesnt want to trade for less that is why he is not traded so far.
I wonder why didnt they release or trade Lucas and offer the Eagles the 4th or 5th round pick for Lito Shepperd.

Posted by: panthers | Mar 1, 2009 12:38:06 AM

Re Cutler... whether they took offers or proposed depends on who you listened to.

Re Sheppard... the last thing we need is another high-priced CB, let alone one that will want to start and get paid. Plus, we're already low on picks... and we need them.

And the biggest deficiency isn't DB, it's the DL.

Posted by: UtesFan89 | Mar 1, 2009 1:03:15 AM

I hope he enjoys ending his career in Toronto.

Posted by: MARCUS | Mar 1, 2009 10:07:11 AM

I'm so tired of reading these anti-Peppers posts. People need to get over the fact that Peppers has done his duty at Carolina and merely wants a change of pace with another team. I don't think there are many people who would be willing to give their life to the company they work for and nor is Peppers. He has been a stand up guy while playing for the Panthers and has never caused trouble off the field. What do you fans expect from Peppers? I bet some of you would like him to cut his heart out and place it as a statue in front of the stadium.
Ask yourself this question you greedy crybabies; have you ever left a company you worked for because you wanted to switch jobs, better yourself, or seek a promotion? Of course you have, and that is what Peppers is doing too, so get of your high horses and let the man be.

Posted by: Ace | Mar 1, 2009 10:08:33 AM


Posted by: Ace | Mar 1, 2009 10:12:15 AM

Peppers STAYS! Tell him "we will pay you" but if you don't sign we will franchise you again next year as well. Add a character clause to his contract in case he tries to go T.O. on us and that is it, end of story. Other teams will offer the proper compensation after the draft when they don't get the pass rushing defensive end they needed and their fans start screaming..be patient. As for losing Hangartner & Omiyale...it's tough, both were solid. Don't be surprised that Hurney/Fox kept Vincent over these two...remember when we kept Dan "IR" Morgan over Will Witherspoon?! I am used to it with these two. I often wonder which team/game they are looking at.

Posted by: Charlie | Mar 1, 2009 10:59:00 AM

this lack of movement by the panthers,of keeping peppers till all the good f.a are gone is making me sick.if we have any chance of getting cutler lets do it.with the starting 21 we have now and cutler i would guarantee a super bowl.by jake and your 11 million.

Posted by: ray | Mar 1, 2009 4:47:33 PM

Peppers for Cutler would be awesome. I like Pep but he doesn't want to be here and he's not worth the money. Trade him and then go get Canty from Dal - Canty's a Charlotte boy, play high school ball at Charlotte Latin. OH YEA.. and hes a BEAST. GET CUTLER IN HERE NOW!

Posted by: Ry | Mar 1, 2009 5:37:09 PM

Gross/Pep really killed us. We have NO money now. Wow, great place to be. If we had cut Gross as I suggested we could have kept all those great OLinemen we just lost. We had to franchise Pep tho to get some value. I still think nobody will call the Panthers about Pep. This puts cement boots on us and we WILL get desperate as time goes on. BIG gamble by Fox who, in my opinion, is on the bubble. Jake is good, AS LONG AS he has a good OL. We have a terrible line now, therefore, look for a terrible year by Jake, unless we can unload Pep and restock the OL. I say take the two 6th round draft picks for Pep and go shopping!

Posted by: Panthster | Mar 1, 2009 7:27:38 PM

Omiyale isn't worth what he got... at least not to the Panthers. He's had 1 start.
Geoff is good... but not as good as Gross. Letting Gross go to keep them would be dumb... depth is nice, but you can get it cheap. Pro-Bowl starters, not so much. Cutting Gross would've done more harm than good... the team can find back-up OLmen in the draft or later in FA. Hangartner wouldn't help us at C... we already have Kalil.

As for Pep... rumors are the Patriots could be interested... and they have a fair share of 1st-day picks. If not, I guess we're stuck with a very talented DE.

Posted by: UtesFan89 | Mar 1, 2009 8:15:33 PM

Best of luck in Buffalo Geoff! Make the most of it.

Now, Marty Hurney, get to work. Trade Peppers to New England for the 23rd and 32nd (from KC) picks in the 2009 draft. Then use the freed-up cap space to sign bargain DE's Bertrand Berry (Arizona) and Mike Montgomery (GB). Berry is an aging, but proven pass rusher that will bring leadership into the locker room and Montgomery is young (25), hungry, and made the most of his starts last year (8 starts, 59 tackles, 2.5 sacks, 1 FF).

Move Peppers now!

Posted by: PanthersGM | Mar 1, 2009 9:13:42 PM

As long as Fox is here, the starting QB job will always belong to his son Delhomme so its highly unlikely Cutler will ever be considered which in itself is sad but follows the same "stick with vets till the bitter end" tune that Fox has(which will also mean Lucas will be here, Peppers will still be taking plays off, Gross will still be false starting, Delhomme will still be looking at Smith at throwing ints, the defense will still be the same, stale predictable way as usual, etc, etc etc). The Panthers are such a stick in the mud boring team, if not for my love of everything NC and football I seriously would not root for them. The only thing that is making me even watch this team is D Williams and J Stewart. I would throw in Smith but he has to end his love affair with Delhomme. Why cant Fox just let the talent decide who starts? Why cant he revamp the QB position like he did with the RB's, WR's OL? End of rant.

Posted by: marvel | Mar 2, 2009 7:56:17 AM

marvel after viewing your post I think we can say your use of "root" is probably the most loosely its ever been used.

I agree, Fox should persue Cutler BUT my feeling is McDaniels wanted Cassel. Cassel was young, knew his system, and had a relationship with him. Thats probably the only reason Denver considered the trade offer. Think about it. Cutler was completely off the market before hand, Cassel went to KC whats the difference now? He's still off the market. Now it migth change because as a young franchise player would be, he's upset about how he was treated and may want out. But I'm sure he'll get over it eventually and come back.

With that said, I'd say Peppers (and Lucas?) a second rounder and future first for Cutler. That would change the whole franchise. We could restructure Delhomme and have an awesome backup or include him in the trade (or cut him). I love delhomme though, so if teh trade doesn't work out we still got Jake.

Posted by: Gamble20 | Mar 2, 2009 10:13:20 AM

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