Carolina Panthers’ Josh Norman (24) takes the field during team introductions before an NFL football game against the Atlanta Falcons in Charlotte, N.C., Sunday, Dec. 13, 2015. The Panthers won 38-0. (AP Photo/Bob Leverone)
Josh Norman (J. No.) “doesn’t want to talk about it.” Speculation abounds on WHY the Panthers let go of the “top 10” CB. NFL headlines comment that J. No. isn’t worth the kind of money that he and his agent are after. Now, J. No. is free to join and pursue any other team that comes calling and paying.
Panthers secondary coaching has a knack in developing players to be at the top of their position. J. No. was a 5th round pick turned super-star for the Panthers. There is a high confidence in the Panthers coaching staff. The move to un-restrict Norman is rather extravagant as the draft is only a week away. Now questions allude as to what the Panthers will do concerning the hole that is left by a stable corner as Josh was.
One thing is for certain, the move frees up cap-space (32-Mil.), giving the Panthers the ability to sign key position players such as Star Lotulelei and Kawaan Short.
J. No. as talented as he is, was not in position to stalemate the Panthers as he was viewed as a speculative player who had only shown a one-year success in an already dynamic defense. However, J. No. did fulfill his part and contribute to the defense as a whole. Talks remained as talks, as neither side was able to finalize on a deal.
J. No. carried with him a personality, one that showed on and off the field. Ron Rivera is credited as wanting his players to keep their personalities and often commented on the fact throughout the season. The team’s success was coupled with maintaining their identity. J. No.’s personality may have been often exuberant and a negative distraction at times and this may have led to his untimely departure. The Panthers want their players to have identities but one that contributes in a positive manner to the team as a whole and not one that seems to serve merely the individual, as perhaps J. No.’ did. Maturity is seen as a growing process and there were signs that J. No’s maturity was on the rise.
Not all is lost. And it shouldn’t be all about the money, as several players have found out. Players should want to play for the Panthers organization. Charles Johnson was ready to fire his agent over the fact that the better deal wasn’t to go elsewhere for more money but to play for a team that treated him fairly, respected him, and challenged him to be the football player he is and can become. Perhaps, GM Dave Gettlemen strategically has opened the door– the door is open for Norman to approach again, but not as someone who wishes to standalone but be a part of something greater than individual aspirations. Time will tell.
Thieves Ave. The secondary made a name for them selves. J. No. was a part of a working system. The secondary, on several occasions, credited the front seven with allowing them to make the big plays and made their jobs easier. When you play as part of a team, as many on the team has found out, no one is irreplaceable. It may be a tough pill to swallow but it is an established fact among the Panthers locker room.
As Gettlemen stated in his recent comments, “We thank Josh for his contributions and wish him well.”
Panthers make bold moves as this and other moves have shown. The next moves should not prove to be any different in the impending draft. As Panther fans have seen, this team hasn’t disappointed and have shown that they continue to head in the right direction. As strange as it may appear from the outside at times.
Me: “What do you think about the Panthers?” Moose: “What do you think about the Panthers?”
Many were the doubters for this past season on the Panthers after the loss of their #1 WR Kelvin Benjamin.
However, the Panthers hushed their critics by having a phenomenal season despite the odds.
After K.B. went down many said the Panthers would be last in their division.
The Panthers made it to the Super Bowl, and all though they did not walk away with their desired outcome, it will and has proven to many on the team to be a stepping stone for growth.
Ron Rivera, who has earned the nickname “Riverboat Ron,” did not get the title over night but through his growth as a coach. With the Super Bowl loss, it will continue to further his coaching as he looks back and finds areas in which to get better. Rivera has already taken this step.
Don’t forget the growth of the QB sensation that also runs the helm of the offense, Cam “Superman” Newton. The Media pounced on the QB’s reaction after the Super Bowl loss, but as GM Dave Gettlemen has pointed out, “I’d rather have those types of players on my team—those who hate to loose.”
Want further ammunition to drive off of when beginning the season? Look no further than a Super Bowl loss. Cam Newton has already set his sights on Denver and he will remember the loss with the drive and motivation to further advance his overall skills at QB.
Could the season without K.B. have actually benefited the Panthers and the #1 Wideout?
Yes. Without the return of K.B. last season benefited the offense. It might sound ridiculous and the outcome of the season may have turned out differently if the stand-out WR was on the field, but I think it will propel this year’s season.
Without K.B. it forced Cam’s growth as a QB to spread the field and find other targets. Cam was forced to improve and progress through his reads finding an open WR instead of relying on Benjamin who, because of his tremendous talent and mismatches, was able to come away with the ball.
Rivera has also commented on this fact and will push Cam to continue to progress through his reads and “spread the ball around,” which will benefit the offense and the QB.
K.B. was not the only WR who shows promise for next season. Stephen Hill also suffered an early knee injury and had to sit out for the season. Despite not being able to play on the field, off the field, K.B. and Hill both worked hard and inspired each other in their treatment and rehab, pushing each other to get better. And because of this I expect great things for them this year. With those two receivers, coupled with the expectation of Devin Funchess and the rest of the WR core, the Panthers can look to have an even more explosive offense.
Can the offense get better? Is there an area of concern? Room for improvement?
Moose believes there is.
Moose: “They need a RB.” (running back)
Moose may not be too off base here. It may not be the first concern that comes to everyone’s minds.
The Panthers Needs: DE (defensive end), a dynamic pass rusher. Kony Ealy showed that he has taken the next steps in development at the position but, as the Panthers know, competition always brings out the best in players.
OT (offensive tackle), Can OT Mike Remmers handle the load? The Panthers have shown confidence in Remmers, although many fans were baffled when the Panthers signed the RT to a new contract. For now, it is his job to loose.
Secondary, a possible Corner to complement J No.? Another Safety to fill the void and compete with Trey Boston?
J. No. is looking for a contract that puts him at the top of his game and that is worthy of the top paid corners in the league. Negotiations and talks continue.
As far as Trey Boston is concerned, many like his talent, but as in the case with the DE and other positions, competition brings out the best in players.
Everyone loves Jonathon Stewart and he proved he was up to the task last season. But as other sports analysts have noted, Stewart’s contract is running out (no pun intended) in 2017 and will eventually save the Panthers cap room if they were in the hunt now.
The Panthers have set their standards on averaging 100 yds. a game. And want to continue with this ground-pound approach.
Behind Stewart are F. Whitaker and C.A.P. (Cameron Artis Payne). Both have shown some promise and had a few notable bursts in last year’s games but regarding their potential, especially that of C.A.P., it may be to early to speculate.
Drafting another RB could be beneficial and lessen the uncertainty at the position.
Why does Moose think the Panthers could use a RB?
Is it because of Stewart’s history of injuries?
With the draft just a few weeks away, the Panthers boards are set. Gettlemen has been true to his philosophy, that is, to draft the best player available and not to base it off needs.
For this year’s draft, it is deep in DE’s.
@PanthersDrafter, Panthers Analyst is sticking with defensive players at Pick 30 for the Panthers, with DE Kevin Dodd (if still available) and Alternate Pick, CB Eli Apple and Alt. Pick #2 Emmanuel Ogbah.
The question is would the Panthers grab a RB in the 1st round? Ezekiel Elliot is one of the most talented RB’s in this years draft, and for that reason is to be an early pick in the draft. But I take the Heisman winner out of Alabama for when the Panthers pick (30th overall).
Derrick Henry (RB) Alabama
OT’s might not be the best bargain and may have to wait. Many do not favor this years OT selection (at least early on). Look for the Panthers to develop the players that are on the roster or maybe grab one and develop later in the draft.
It is not out of the question that the Panthers move up in the draft. But I do think it is unlikely.
Panther’s Draft Picks, (6 Total) Pick 30 Derrick Henry
“Running-backs need to be oldschool. Pound you.”—Derrick Henry
A few mock drafts are in agreement: TheBigLead.com‘s Jason McIntyre: No. 27 overall (first round) to the Carolina Panthers
“How scary is a Cam-Henry backfield? … Yes, Henry played behind a beastly offensive line. Yes, the last few Alabama RBs to get drafted have been up-and-down. Yes, his speed at the Combine will be important.” DraftSite.com‘s DJ Boyer: No. 31 overall (first round) to the Carolina Panthers
Derrick Henry has visited with the Panthers. ESPN’s David Newton believes Henry could be a “natural fit” for the Panthers.
The question will be, IMO, if the Panthers feel that they can get more for the buck in Henry—developing his skill to become more versatile, and use his size and strength to beef up the O-Line.
Can Henry be a good blocker, pass protector, RB/ TE for their high-powered offense?
CBS Sports, Will Brinson, says the Cowboys have too expressed an interest and are also in the running for the RB.
But as CBS reports, the Cowboys taking the RB in the first round, unless making a trade, is not a “viable option” for the team.
The only other team, who has also held a meeting that may snag him before the Panthers, would be the Seahawks, showing their interest, with the 28th pick.
As Pantherswire.usatoday has noted, Henry outperformed current RB J. Stew’s numbers at the Combine. And Stewart was selected 13th overall in the 2008 NFL Draft.
Draftwire’s Jon Ledyard, also has the Panthers selecting Derrick Henry in the first round. And he has the Panthers using the second pick on an OT, Germain Ifedi from Texas A&M.
Are the Panthers sold on Henry? Is there enough player upside?
The Panthers are bringing back DE Charles Johnson, less than a week after he was released by the Panthers.
Reports say he will come back to the Cats on a one-year deal.
He’s second all-time on the Panthers list for sacks (63.5) and forced fumbles (17). Johnson did chat with both the New York Giants and Tampa Bay Buccaneers, but decided upon a return to the NFC Champions.
“I came pretty close, but ultimately my heart is in Carolina,” Johnson said. “It’s not about the money. Carolina is home, and I wouldn’t have been happy if I went somewhere else,” Johnson said. “The Giants are a first-class organization, but now I have one more year to get back where I want to be, at home.”
It’s a solid move to add the vet back to the organization, and keeps a fellow NFC team from adding him to their roster.
Panthers general manager Dave Gettleman won’t shy away from wielding the franchise tag to ensure corner Josh Norman remains a Panther, Kevin Patra of NFL.com reports.
“I told you guys I don’t believe in drafting, developing players for other teams,” Gettleman said Wednesday from the NFL Scouting Combine. “For some reason it doesn’t make sense. So, yes, we are going to have the conversation (about a long-term contract), and we’re going to do the best we can … Nothing’s changed, we’re going to try and get a deal done.
“If not, there are options, and maybe the tag gets used.”
Gettleman isn’t worried about Norman being upset if he’s tagged.
“Josh is a pro. He’s a pro. No, not at all. Because … I’m not,” he said chuckling.
The franchise tag for cornerbacks is estimated at $13.7 million.
Panthers defensive end Jared Allen walked away from the NFL on Thursday, leaving the game he played for 12 seasons with four teams.
Allen retired in a very unique way, announcing it sitting atop his horse, releasing a short video on Twitter.
“I was going to ride off into the sunset, but seeing there is no sunset I’m just going to ride off,” Allen said.
The 33-year-old finished his NFL career with 136 career sacks, which ranks 9th right now in NFL history. He led the league in sacks twice, in 2007 and 2011.
He was due to make $8.25 million under the 2016 salary cap and it was highly unlikely the Panthers would have paid him that salary.
Allen played four seasons for the Kansas City Chiefs before being traded to the Minnesota Vikings, where he spent the next six years. He played two full seasons with Chicago before joining the Panthers early in the 2015 season in a trade.
“I want to take this time to thank my family, friends, fans, and teammates who have given their continued support throughout my 12-year career,” Allen said in a statement on the team’s website. “It’s been a great ride for me, and I couldn’t be more grateful for the memories. It is with a great deal of thought and consideration that I have decided that I will not return to football next year.
“I want to thank the Carolina Panthers, Chicago Bears, Minnesota Vikings and the Kansas City Chiefs organizations, who provided me with an opportunity to live out my dream and to be a part of their wonderful communities. Thanks for the lifelong memories.”
Panthers have signed long snapper J.J. Jansen to a new five-year, $5.5 million contract according to the team’s official website.
Jansen has been the Panthers’ long snapper since being acquired in a trade with the Green Bay Packers in 2009 and has played in 112 consecutive regular season games for Carolina.
“He’s consistent, and that’s the first thing you look for,” special teams coordinator Bruce DeHaven said in a statement from the team. “He’s earned this. He affects the entire special teams. He’s got some size, he’s very smart and he’s got a lot of leadership ability. I can’t say enough great things about him.”
Jansen made the Pro Bowl in 2013. Jansen was scheduled to become an unrestricted free agent in March.