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February 13, 2014

Hardy, Munnerlyn among NFL's top free agents

The Panthers' list of unrestricted free agents last year was a short one, and included only a couple of starters -- defensive tackle Dwan Edwards and cornerback Captain Munnerlyn.

Both Edwards and Munnerlyn ended up re-signing with the Panthers, who saw No. 3 receiver Louis Murphy (Giants), tight end Gary Barnidge (Cleveland) and linebacker Jason Phillips (Philadelphia) sign elsewhere.

This year is a different story.

The Panthers have 21 players eligible for free agency, including two who made USA Today's list of the NFL's top 25 free agents -- defensive end Greg Hardy (No. 2) and Munnerlyn (23).

The publication predicts the Panthers will use a franchise tag on Hardy, a scenario I questioned last week because of its salary cap ramifications.

USA Today sees Munnerlyn reuniting in Denver with John Fox, the Panthers' coach when Carolina drafted Munnerlyn in the seventh round in 2009.

USA Today's list also includes several players who could be on the Panthers' radar.

Seattle defensive end Michael Bennett (No. 5) would make sense as a pass-rushing target if the Panthers lose Hardy in free agency.

Giants receiver Hakeem Nicks (No. 22) is coming off a down year, but has ties to Panthers GM Dave Gettleman and is the type of young, play-maker Cam Newton needs.

Oakland left tackle Jared Veldheer was limited to five games in 2013 because of a triceps age. But at 26, the former third-round pick could step in immediately at left tackle if Jordan Gross retires.

--Joseph Person

Posted by Observer Sports on February 13, 2014 at 01:05 PM | Permalink


would captain start anywhere else? that shows how bad our secondary was...offer him minimum wage, ha.

no harm done if he goes elsewhere

Posted by: tony clifton | Feb 13, 2014 2:02:00 PM

Its not a bad situation. Franchise The Kracken and draft all WR's and DB's unless a surprise lands in our lap at OT. We should have won that damned 49er game and everyone knows it. We too would have beat Denver.

Posted by: Chris | Feb 13, 2014 2:02:29 PM

Munnerlyn is NOT a "top" free agent.

Posted by: par404 | Feb 13, 2014 3:01:02 PM

You have not mentioned a hidden motivation that Hakeem may want return to his home Charlotte to finish his career????

Posted by: Dan Cleary | Feb 14, 2014 8:49:23 AM

keep hardy bye bye captain..sorry dude...THIS IS A NO BRAINER

Posted by: ewalk | Feb 14, 2014 10:33:59 AM

Gamble was the last time we took a CB in the first round. Its time again. But if an elite CB is not there, two words...Odell Beckham.

Posted by: MortyShortgrass | Feb 14, 2014 1:43:10 PM

with all due respect...everyone can walk bring the Kracken back!! trade or release johnson if you have to.

Posted by: tre4boi | Feb 14, 2014 1:48:17 PM

Johnson is a beast. Did you get hit in the head with one too many snowballs?

Posted by: Morty | Feb 14, 2014 2:09:17 PM

Release the Kraken!!

Posted by: The Kraken | Feb 14, 2014 2:47:11 PM

munnerlyn has a TON of value on your roster even if it IS as a nickel.

the impact INT return touchdowns have on games is incredible. and he is a GREAT tackler out of the secondary. with our defensive scheme, what he brings is way more important than what he lacks in size and overall coverage skills.

the punt return ability is an added plus as well.

franchise hardy, you don't let him walk THIS YEAR. there are 3 different tags now and either of the three work fine. if hardy signs a ridiculous overpaying deal elsewhere, so be it. our gift to the league to take one team out of the race for the life of the contract. if we get 2 picks in return, great. if not, so be it.

you can tag him again next year assuming we can afford to (should be able to) and at that rate you get 2 1-year deals in his prime instead of a 6 year deal that takes him out of his prime. the downside is the inability to spread the hit over years, but it's 1 player. way more sensible to give him a 1 year deal and let him lower his own value. we only have to sign draft picks and like 7 guys with the remaining space and we still have guys like godfrey and olsen who need to be restructured. dwan edwards could go, too, depending on how much of his 2mm is guaranteed.

it's all about bringing back a 12-4 team with a healthy godfrey and stewart and silatolu, and adding in a draft class to improve some weaknesses/get younger. that's the entire mission.

we don't need much. beason would have helped, though. we're already paying him anyways. oh right...i forgot. we're going to replace him with that 7th rounder.

Posted by: charlottean | Feb 17, 2014 2:55:56 PM

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