Is the Door Open for a Big Free Agent Signing?

deshaunfoster2.jpgDeshaun Foster is no longer a Panther.  His career has been marked by inconsistency and fumbles.  However, don’t get the wrong idea, he did help lead this team to a Super Bowl appearance and two NFC Championship Games.  The time and the circumstances just didn’t work in his favor.

The move allows for a few things – DeAngelo Williams can now prove what he’s capable of.  His 5.0 average per carry last year was impressive.  The argument can be made that he’s not an every-down back and that he can’t take the punishment.  Some believe that he’s a third-down back albeit an exceptional one who can take more carries than the average situational running back.  Come training camp, he’ll have the chance to prove his doubters wrong.

michaelturner3.jpgWho he will be competing against will be answered in the dead of winter and long before the rigors of 95-plus degree training camp sessions.  It will be decided during free agency and the April Draft.  So, is the door open?

The Panthers have been talking as if they want to redefine the team.  General Manager Marty Hurney and coach John Fox met with Jerry Richardson and the discussion centered on making this team look like the Pittsburgh Steelers – mean, physical, tough.

If that’s what they want, the time is now.  I’ll throw you one name.  In fact, I will be neither the first nor the last Panther fan to evoke the name during this offseason – Michael Turner.

Here’s is a guy who has been buried in San Diego behind the best running back in the NFL in Ladainian Tomlinson.  It’s what happened each time he has seen significant time that makes a believer of me and every fan who wants him to join their team this winter.  He was the major focus of the Chargers’ running game during the playoffs with Tomlinson ailing.

He’s set to be one of the top two free agent players in the league and rightfully so especially among Panthers fans.  Ask the average fan with ties to Charlotte and they’ll tell you exactly what I’m telling you – you wanna be more physical?  You wanna have that power running game?  Fine!  Go get us Michael Turner and we’ll have it.

Sure, no running back will be successful behind a bad offensive line but the team is taking steps to keep the core talent intact among this group – Jordon Gross, among others.  But the team showed signs of weakness last season when the running game was needed.  The team struggled with injuries at QB, sure.  But it was when the running game was needed the most that it failed the team.

Here’s your chance, Panthers!  Mr. Hurney, coach Fox, Mr. Richardson, you want to make this team physical, big and bad?  If you truly want to be the bullies on the block and push people around while you take their lunch money then here’s you chance.  Two things.  Two free pieces of advice:

Build that offensive line to be the biggest, baddest bunch of dudes in the league capable of pushing around the competition.

Finally, go get us Michael Turner.  Put your money where your mouth is.

Afterall, the door is open.  All you have to do is walk through it.

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Tags: Carolina Panthers DeShaun Foster Michael Turner

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  • Mike Houston

    I love the Panthers, and I want Michael Turner as much as the next fan, but the Panthers are too cheap to get a quality player of that level. Michael Turner will require a big money contract, and the Panthers are not willing to do that. This is evident by the resigning of Deke Cooper, and the Panthers not signing another quality receiver to go along with Steve Smith. Don’t get me wrong, I like Drew Carter, but he can only run the fly route. If the Panthers let their cheap ways go, we may be able to get back to the Super Bowl. The Patriots spent some money this past year, and they won every game but one. Think about it

  • Rob

    they aren’t cheap. they spent money before to get stephen davis. they’ll do it again for turner or they’ll overpay one of the other backs just to fill the spot. they went out and signed keyshawn right away when he hit the market and released him because they thought they picked up a younger version of him. if they don’t bring back moose, i really think stallworth may end up there instead and i do believe they will be one of the top 2 teams on turner. crumpler is another story. the titans are showing interest and they’re close enough the panthers may not get him.

  • Mike Houston

    The Panthers are cheap. Stephen Davis was not a big money sign. They cut Keyshawn to open up cap space, and give Smith a contract extension. I would love for them to bring back Moose, or bring in Alge Crumpler, but I doubt. Plus, I like Jeff King. He’s actually a decent TE. He’s played the same way for the Panthers, that he did for Virginia Tech, with QB Marcus Vick. The most they’ve spent on a free agent was Mike Wahle, but now he’s gone. Truthfully speaking, the Panthers have short arms and deep pockets

  • Walker

    Micheal Turner would be the best addition in all of the NFL for the panthers. He fits are scheme perfectly and it would be a great Jax-esque one-two punch with Deangelo Williams.

  • Elliott

    I honestly believe the Panthers are going to go after Michael Turner.  It’s the only logical move and from the past couple weeks, with the moves the Panthers have made, I honestly believe they are making room for two big name guys. If I’m right, then Michael Turner will be one of them. If I’m wrong, then he’ll end up in Chicago where he grew up, and we’ll be stuck with choosing from the other handfull of runningbacks with experience. Hey, who knows, maybe the Panthers will go after another guy by the name of Lamont Jordan. Yes, he had a rough year, but I don’t believe he got the chances he deserved down in Oakland. Another guy that I think the Panthers might consider taking a look at is Ruvell Martin coming out of Greenbay. But all of this is just speculation, no one really knows what the Panthers are planning for unless you’re on the staff or can see into the future. We will all just have to wait until Feb. 29th to see what they do! Good luck to ‘em. I pray to the G-Man (not the g-men) that we have a better season this year.

  • John White

    I hope you’re right.  The team has had a reputation for being a little on the tight side when shopping in free agency.  I would love to have Michael Turner on this team.  But I really don’t think this team is that far away from being a contender.  And, because they’re in teh NFC, just about anything can happen.

  • Rob

    here’s a name for you….shaun alexander. he talked a couple years ago about liking carolina and stayed instead in seattle. i know he may not have done great for the last couple years, but who knows?

  • John White

    Alexander might be okay but the rap on him has been a lack of effort.  He likes to avoid contact and run out of bounds.  Seattle nearly abandoned the running game due to a lack of faith in him last season.  He wouldn’t be at the top of my free agent wish list.

  • Travis

    i say they bring back the moose. get rid of carr. i honestly beleive that moore is going to do awesome as a back up and maybe even take jakes job when he deceides to leave or retire. superbowl this year!!!

  • Mike Houston

    Shaun Alexander would not be a good pick, but knowing my team, they may go after him. Since the early days of the organization, the Panthers have went after older players ( Mike Fox, Greg Kragen, Sean Gilbert, Eric Swann, Chuck Smith, Lamar Smith,etc..). Sometimes thay work out, sometimes they don’t. I’m looking ahead to the draft. Hopefully we get a quality FS(Kenny Phillips, U of Miami), or a QB( Chad Henne Michigan)

  • Mike Houston

    To me, the best free agent pickups of recent time would be Ricky Proehl, and Ken Lucas

  • John White

    Let me take these one at a time…LOL!!!  Alright…Moose woudl be a good veteran presence and might be a very good influence for Jarrett.  For that reason, he might be worth bringing back….Next…I’m hoping for Phillips in a big way in the draft because we BADLY need a safety.  If he isn’t there and they can’t trade down then make the pick for best player available.  Jake is getting no younger but the team is excited about Moore so picking a QB might not, and probably won’t, happen.

  • Rob

    i’d be surprised if they pick up a qb. i believe they’re keeping carr and basanez is the practice squad guy for another year. moose would be great for a 2 year contract at $1mil+ incentives. the first round pick though i think needs to be a defensive end to replace rucker if the right one falls far enough. a safety is right there next to it, so those are the 2 first draft picks one way or another. unless one of the top 3 qbs falls enough i doubt they’ll bother. i expect a 3rd round running back although they’ll address that in free agency, probably by going hard after turner, who i expect our top competition would be atlanta. carolina would get him though because he’ll not only want to start , but also be with somebody close to winning. i really don’t see more than 3 free agents that make a difference coming either. moose, turner, and maybe either an offensive lineman or dante stallworth.

  • Mike Houston

    I doubt they’ll pick up a qb as well, I’m just making my wish list verbal. They do feel good about Moore, but the last time the Panthers felt good about a qb, they picked up David Carr. Before that, it was Jeff Lewis. So don’t mind if I’m a little nervous about the scouting department