Panthers Outstanding Needs After the Spending Spree

The Carolina Panthers have been very aggressive in the free agency market this shortened off season. Jerry Richardson, the Panthers owner, promised they would be and much to most fans surprise they have not disappointed. The main focus was retaining much of the core players upon which they hope to build for the future. Between these resignings and a few new pieces they have picked up the Panthers have added depth and stability at many positions. So the real question becomes, whats left to fix. Where are the holes, and how can they fill them.

Let’s start out with the obvious area of concern, or at least the area people talk about the most, quarterback. Carolina went into the off-season with 2010 rookies Tony Pike and Jimmy Clausen on the roster. They drafted Cam Newton first overall in the 2011 draft. It was obvious they needed to add a veteran presence at QB, so last week they added Derek Anderson. We’ve covered that acquisition a couple times here on Panthers Gab, so I won’t dwell on it. But the question remains, is this still a hole? And with the retirement of Marc Bulger yesterday, are there any quality veteran QBs left to bring on board? Best plan for the Panthers is to let things play out.

Cornerback is the next position we should consider in this discussion. After a season when the Panthers ranked 30th in pass defense it was a given that the Panthers would go after a upgrade at the conerback postiion. To date they have not. They did make a few off season moves though. They drafted Brandon Hogan out of West Virginia, who is still rehabbing a knee injury. The Panthers also signed undrafted free agent Kendric Burney last week. And although I do think his play in camp has been a nice surprise so far, both of these rookie additions seem more like projects than day one starters. Unfortunantly, the corners that are left in the free agent space are either too expensive (Asante Samuel) or not really an unpgrade from what the team current has. At this point the best approach seems to be to have faith in the players we have at corner, lean heavily on the linebacker on blitz and in coverage, and keep an eye on who gets cut from other rosters.

How about reciever? There was rumour floating around this morning that the Panthers might be trying to pick up San Diego free-agent Malcom Floyd. At this point though I’m calling this a long shot. The team retained Steve Smith this off-season, they have second year receivers Gettis and LaFell coming into their own and Armanti Edwards is making a run at being the third receiver. Couple all that with the addition of Olsen and Shockey at tight-end, and I think the Panthers can count this hole as closed.

That brings me to the one aspect of the Panthers roster that makes me nervous, the offensive line. It feels like they are I’m the same place as last year. If no one gets hurt the line is fantastic and our QBs will have all the time they need to look great and move the chains. The problem, as it were, is if someone gets hurt. There just isn’t the depth they need to have across the line. Carolina added a rookie center and tackle, but neither are going to be starters right out of the gate. The challenge here is that there isn’t anyone out there worth getting, and with the revelation that the Panthers are actually $939,000 over the cap. There isn’t any money left anyway.

That’s it, that’s my two cents on where the Panthers still need a little something. What about you reader, what do you think the team needs. And how can they fill the gap?

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3 Responses to “Panthers Outstanding Needs After the Spending Spree”

  1. George says:

    Offensive line is deep enough. With the line we have, we don’t need guys to be starters. We have the guards, the center, and a tackle that will suffice as back-ups. As for corners, the Panthers cannot go into the season with who they have. Other than Gamble, the rest are 5’9″ or shorter. This is the NFL, not high school. This is the only area of need and it is a big one, too bad they let Marshall go.

    • Bobby Cloutier says:

      I’m just not sold on the o-line, Otah missed last year and th line was miserable, just don’t see any additions that help the depth if one of the starters goes down again long term.

      You’re right though corner has me worried, a lot. Just don’t know who is out there at this point that we can get and would make a difference.

  2. bginsc says:

    You can not rebuild Rome in a day.

    Yes, the O-line is thin. The Cats are far from being the only team in the NFL with this problem.

    The pass defense was abysmal last year… but the pass rush was worse. Not many secondaries thrive when the opposing QB has all the time in the world to choose his target. If Ron Rivera can work his defensive magic and get some pressure on the QB, then we’ll see what we really have in the secondary.

    Don’t forget, too, that at QB we have a talented but raw rookie (in other words, most likely a “project”), a shaky second year guy , and a journeyman veteran.

    Bottom line – the Panthers are going to be better… better attitude, better talent, a new and energized coaching staff replacing an old and demoralized lane duck one, money invested in keeping and acquiring key players… but this is a building process, in the toughest division in the league. After 1-15 last year, it will take time to get back into the upper echelon of the NFL. This season, anything near .500 will represent good progress towards that goal.

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