Written By: Florida Bengal
After one of the most successful seasons in franchise history, the Carolina Panthers have been largely quiet as other teams have picked them apart in free agency.
Safety Mike Mitchell went to the Steelers on Day 1 of free agency. Linebacker Jordan Senn is now a Bear. Cornerback Captain Munnerlyn has visits lined up with the VIkings, Jets and Buccaneers.
And then there are the wide receiver.
The Panthers released all-time leading receiver Steve Smith, who had 64 catches last year. Brandon LaFell (49 catches) is a free agent who is visiting the New England Patriots today. Ted Ginn (36 catches) is being courted by the Giants and Buccaneers among others. Domenik Hixon is now a member of the Chicago Bears.
Assuming that all of the players above do indeed depart, the Panthers’ most-established NFL receiver would be Toney Clemons, who signed with the team in January and has three career receptions (all of them in 2012 for the Jaguars). The most-established as a Panther would be Kealoha Pilares, who had two catches for 42 yards and a score with the team in 2012.
With all of that noted, who exactly could be lining up at wideout for the Panthers in 2014?
There’s always a chance that LaFell and/or Ginn don’t find what they want on the open market and return to the team. There’s also a belief that former Giant Hakeem Nicks could be headed back to his hometown of Charlotte, but he’s currently in Indianapolis visiting the Colts.
Tight end Greg Olsen led the team in catches a year ago and will remain a viable target, but he’ll need help on the outside. It will be interesting to see how the Panthers address this hole in the coming weeks.