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July 27, 2011

Panthers re-sign 3, part with Kasay

The Carolina Panthers kept true to their word Wednesday, moving quickly to retain their core by signing three key players to extensions or new contracts.

But they also sent a shockwave through the NFL by releasing John Kasay, the 41-year-old kicker who was the last remaining player from the expansion Panthers of 1995.

Panthers general manager Marty Hurney said the new kickoff rules -- the spot will be moved up 5 yards this season and is expected to result in more touchbacks -- convinced the Panthers they no longer should carry three kickers (a punter, place-kicker, and kickoff specialist).

Panthers owner Jerry Richardson spoke to The Observer around lunchtime Wednesday, expressing his optimism that the Panthers would be able to sign their primary free agent targets as Saturday's start of training camp approaches.

Richardson said general manager Marty Hurney was meeting with free-agent running back DeAngelo Williams today, as well as with linebacker Thomas Davis about a contract extension. He also said Hurney was beginning a conversation with linebacker Jon Beason about a contract extension.

By 5 p.m., Williams had agreed to a five-year, $43-million deal ($21 million guaranteed) to stay with Panthers, and Davis had agreed to a five-year extension.

Also getting a 5-year deal was linebacker James Anderson.

Those deals followed Tuesday's signing of free agent defensive end Charles Johnson to a six-year deal worth up to $72 million, with $32 million guaranteed.

"We've said from the beginning we're going to be aggressive but we're going to be aggressive at the right time," Richardson said before the agreements. "That's to sign our own players. I would bet (defensive end) Charles Johnson was in the top five free agents in the market.

"I assume DeAngelo was high. I suspect when this is over, we do have Charles Johnson. I hope we're going to have DeAngelo, we're going to have Thomas (Davis). We're going to be talking to Jon Beason today.

"We will have probably, very quickly, our core players and we're able to do it because we're willing to be competitive and pay what it takes.

"We have such a compressed length of time. We're moving as fast as we can but I'm optimistic because we want them here."

Kasay, however, is on the way out after the team agreed to a deal with kicker Olindo Mare, 38, that will reportedly pay him $12 million over four years.

Hurney said in a late-afternoon news conference that he had told Kasay the team would be pursuing a kicker. Hurney said Kasay took the news like a professional.

Kasay, who has spent 16 of his 20 seasons with the Panthers, and Minnesota quarterback Brett Favre were tied as the NFL's longest-tenured players last season.

Hurney said Kasay, who is likely to be released Thursday, might not be ready to retire. "He's an extremely competitive individual and probably will want to continue kicking in this league," Hurney said. "It was an extremely difficult decision."

Davis is coming off ACL surgery in consecutive seasons, but Hurney said the training staff is convinced Davis is in great physical condition.

Other moves on one of the busiest days in Panthers franchise history:

Tight end Ben Hartsock, formerly with the New York Jets, agreed to a two-year deal. That could spell trouble for tight end Dante Rosario.

Defensive backs Cletis Gordon and De'von Hall, and tight end/fullback Richie Brockel. Hall and Brockel have ties to Rivera.

Veteran nose tackle Ron Edwards, who had 15 tackles, 11 assists and two sacks for the Chiefs a year ago, starting 15 of 16 games, agreed to a three-year, $8.25 million deal. He's 6-3, 315 pounds, and 32 years old. He's also been mostly a 3-4 nose tackle during his career.

Hurney said the Panthers' dump of dead money, including $12 million owed to former quarterback Jake Delhomme, during the uncapped year helped create the space that has allowed them to be aggressive.

Next up, among core players, are Beason and center Ryan Kalil, though it won't be this week. And wide receiver Steve Smith, who asked to be traded after last season's 2-14 debacle, will have to wait as well.

Still, there was plenty going on for the Panthers, and around the NFL.

"I think around the league it's been extremely busy (but) productive," Hurney said.


Posted by Observer Sports on July 27, 2011 at 08:26 PM | Permalink

Comments

Great day for Carolina-keeping the core intact. Can't wait to get started.

Posted by: Fatty McButterpants | Jul 27, 2011 8:36:40 PM

I'm lovin it

Posted by: [email protected] | Jul 27, 2011 8:57:55 PM

I'm lovin it

Posted by: [email protected] | Jul 27, 2011 8:57:55 PM

I wonder will the Panthers go after Jenkins From the Packer and how about Steve smith or roy william to help steve smith and even the interested move we go after reggie bush and make him just a wr/kr I think it could be interesting and btw most of these are just idea I am not saying the Panthers should do all these moves just 1 or 2

Posted by: NFL | Jul 27, 2011 9:05:34 PM

Reggie Bush and Roy Williams? Not worth it.

And Jenkins is simply out of our price range, and he is still in his prime but towards the end of it (at age 30). I would rather re-up Kahlil and Beason.

Posted by: Gamble20 | Jul 27, 2011 10:00:06 PM

Yes, Fatty, GREAT day! We've re-signed the core of a 2-14 team through overpaying like the Redskins and let go of one of the best, classiest players in team history. How could it not go well?

Posted by: Michael Procton | Jul 27, 2011 11:54:53 PM

Yes, Fatty, GREAT day! We've re-signed the core of a 2-14 team through overpaying like the Redskins and let go of one of the best, classiest players in team history. How could it not go well?

Posted by: Michael Procton | Jul 27, 2011 11:54:53 PM

Cheap way to treat one of the classiest Panthers of all time. Jerry's new heart completely made him do a 180 and turn into an evil no good bastard.

Posted by: Phil | Jul 28, 2011 12:51:49 AM

Cheap way to treat one of the classiest Panthers of all time. Jerry's new heart completely made him do a 180 and turn into an evil no good bastard.

Posted by: Phil | Jul 28, 2011 12:51:50 AM

will always be a Kasay fan!

Posted by: purr | Jul 28, 2011 7:02:44 AM

Kasey is old. And I never forgave him for kicking the ball out of bounds at the end of the Super Bowl and giving Brady a start on the 40. He's the kicker...we'll be ok. Ring of Honor, but statue? Really?

Posted by: Dez | Jul 28, 2011 8:53:18 AM

They should have dumped Klutzen (excuse me , I meant Clausen ) and kept Kasay , at least John Kasay scored some points last year ! In several games , if it had not been for John we would have scored nothing at all ....God Bless ya John , you'll always be a Panthers Icon for many of us!

Posted by: snowbandits4 | Jul 28, 2011 5:40:15 PM

I'm a John Kasay fan and worst move I ever saw in my life.

Posted by: Tomio Sikora | Jul 28, 2011 7:20:09 PM

Take back Kasay!

Posted by: Tomio Sikora | Jul 28, 2011 7:20:57 PM

Kasay saved a lot of games and won.+

Posted by: Tomio Sikora | Jul 28, 2011 7:27:20 PM

CALLING on all true Panthers fans to RALLY for Kasay ! Does anyone know how we can all flood Jerry Richardson's e-mail with with a ralling cry to get Back Kasay?

Posted by: snowbandits4 | Jul 28, 2011 8:48:33 PM

we need another big reciever to help smith out.I am looking for to the season.We need another good quarterback to mentor newton and we will be alright.

Posted by: Barry patrick | Jul 28, 2011 10:26:29 PM


So why couldn't kasey do kick-offs and field goals. Since the nfl moved the kickoff up 5 yards to the 35 yard line wouldnt it be easier on kasey's legs with him having to kick the ball a shorter distance to reach the endzone, I'm a little confused.


Read more: http://www.charlotteobserver.com/2011/07/28/2486093/panthers-kasay-expected-to-be.html#ixzz1TVqdiG7E

Posted by: djpb7aa6 | Jul 29, 2011 12:35:40 PM

Jerry Richardson please take John Kasay back. He's been a loyal Panther player he deserve that. Let him retire as as a Carolina Panther or retire his number and statue along Sam Mills.

Posted by: Thundermayo | Jul 31, 2011 2:24:21 PM

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