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March 08, 2014

Mike Mitchell, Ted Ginn Jr. expected to hit open market

Carolina Panthers free safety Mike Mitchell and wide receiver Ted Ginn Jr. -- the team's top priorities among their own free agents -- are expected to hit the open market Tuesday when the free agency signing period begins.

Mitchell and Ginn signed one-year deals with the Panthers last offseason and played big roles in the 12-win season that produced the Panthers' first playoff appearance in five years.

Both players are looking to cash in on their success from 2013, but the Panthers' salary cap situation could hinder their ability to re-sign them to long-term deals.

After defensive end Greg Hardy signed a $13.1 million franchise tender this week, the Panthers are about $7 million below the $133 million cap. Teams have to be below the cap when the league year begins at 4 p.m. Tuesday.

Mitchell, 26, was a backup in Oakland who flourished as a starter with the Panthers. He brought a physical presence to the back end of the league's second-ranked defense, and his four interceptions tied middle linebacker Luke Kuechly for the team lead.

Mitchell is expected to draw interest from several teams during the league's three-day negotiating window, which began at noon Saturday. The Falcons, who reportedly plan to release safety Thomas DeCoud, could be among the suitors for Mitchell.

The Panthers have a fall-back option on their roster in safety Charles Godfrey, who missed most of last season after rupturing his Achilles in Week 2. Godfrey was thought to be a potential salary cap casualty, but the Panthers could try to restructure his deal if it looks like they can't re-sign Mitchell.

Ginn, 28, had a career resurgence last season after a couple of forgettable years in San Francisco. Ginn posted career highs with five touchdown catches and a 15.4 yards-per-catch average as Cam Newton's favorite deep target.

Ginn also gave the Panthers a big-play threat in their return game, which is among the reasons the Panthers view him as a priority.

The Panthers have 18 remaining free agents, several of whom they would like to bring back on a short, team-friendly deals. That list includes starting cornerback Captain Munnerlyn, No. 2 tight end Ben Hartsock and backup quarterback Derek Anderson.

--Joseph Person

Posted by Observer Sports on March 8, 2014 at 12:02 PM | Permalink

Comments

why are they not trying to sign Mitchell?????

Posted by: paul | Mar 8, 2014 10:08:37 PM

Release the Kraken!!!

Posted by: The Kraken | Mar 9, 2014 12:01:38 AM

That is right Person. An underperforming (when healthy) S coming off an injury that is often ends careers (or takes 2 years to completely rehab) is the only solution the Panthers have. Restructures usually benefit the player in that they guarantee more $$ than previously offered. A pay cut is more like it, but he is not worth the vet minimum now. Where are you getting your information?

Posted by: G Neal | Mar 9, 2014 10:52:52 AM

why overpay or sign too many guys to longer term deals? only do that for a select few. there are lots of players, snag other 1-yr players so they'll actually be forced to compete and work hard. screw'em all.

Posted by: tony clifton | Mar 10, 2014 9:37:32 AM

Joe,

What kind of sense does it make to write an article about how Ginn and Mitchell likely won't be retained due to cap issues, then follow that up with another article listing 10 potential free agents who would cost as much or more than Ginn and Mitchell?

Sheesh.

Posted by: Pauly | Mar 10, 2014 10:02:15 AM

big mistake letting these 2 go if they let smith go ginn mitchell munnerlynn who the heck are we going to have left? I knew last year was suppose to be our year, the seahawks beat us 12-6 and williams was going in for the game winning td but he didn't feel the pressure from behind he was juking the defender in front of him think about it the superbowl champs barely beat us... i know it was regular season at our stadium but it was also the first game before we hit our stride now we are going to let everyone go. I was impressed with mitchell he plays hard and he is a heavy hitting safety, infact all of our safeties were good. Godfrey is good too but i think robert l, mike m,and quentin m are a bit better in various ways. Now we are about to need a new complete core of receivers, a new core of defensive backfield luckily we keep melvin white and robert lester at least, and we will be doing the o line shuffle again this year. That doesn't have playoff birth written on it. Oh well it was nice while it lasted to win the close ones. It would have been a great story for fox verses his old team in the big one the superbowl game would have been more competitive that's for sure. Ginn is not only a burner as wr he is also and illusive kr/pr special teamer much like STEVE SMITH was in the beginning of his career. The 2 have alot of similarities, one thing that would help newton with high wild passes is him not having to bring the ball so low to the shorter receivers with him being 6 foot 5 no wonder the ball floats off from time to time imagine him having a big target that can jump high and run fast such as himself (6 foot 3 and up) its what he needs to throw to and it is what the team has been missing since moose and johnson retired to compliment the no.1 receiver be it ginn smith or whoever the heck the will trade keep draft resign or sign nonchalant. Anyways i'm outty...

Posted by: HOF#89 | Mar 10, 2014 11:33:26 PM

Mitchell is gone they'll be stupid not to sign Ginn!

Posted by: tibecat | Mar 12, 2014 1:14:40 AM

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