The NFL free agency period has calmed down quite a bit the past couple of days. Yet, there are still several attractive players still available on the market. The Carolina Panthers have been one of the most active, and most impressive, participants on the free agent market. Although the Panthers have been active there are still some minor holes that the team can fill. Here’s the rundown of four moves the Carolina Panthers should make to draw their free agency activity to a close:
1) Sign Marc Bulger or Jake Delhomme. The Panthers need a veteran quarterback with experience that can help guide the two young pups: Jimmy Clausen and Cam Newton. The Panthers have a very good quarterbacks coach in Mike Shula. However, one cannot understate how important it is to have a veteran quarterback on the team that younger quarterbacks can learn from through action. The Panthers are meeting with former Cardinals QB, Derek Anderson on Monday. Anderson lacks the experience of Bulger and Delhomme and hasn’t had their level of sustained success.
Marc Bulger played with a Hall of Fame caliber quarterback in Kurt Warner for three years in St. Louis. After Warner’s departure, Bulger had a solid starting career of his own and at one time was considered to be a second-tier quarterback in the NFL. Bulger would provide the Panthers with a veteran who could share a wealth of knowledge and experiences with Newton and Clausen while also providing competent play if he was needed in a pinch.
Jake Delhomme would almost be as controversial as signing Derek Anderson, almost. However, no one can question Delhomme’s leadership ability and his past success. I consider Delhomme a self-made man. He went from an undrafted free-agent and virtual forgotten member of the New Orleans Saint depth chart to leading the “Cardiac Cats” to an NFC Championship and Super Bowl appearance in 2003 and another NFC Championship appearance in 2005. Delhomme, like Anderson, would be less than appealing in actual playing situations, but the leadership he could provide on the sidelines would be invaluable.
2) Sign Malcom Floyd. It is hard to believe that Malcom Floyd has not found a new NFL home. He is a middle-class man’s Calvin Johnson with remarkable size (6’5, 225 lbs). Floyd had 37 receptions for 717 yards and 6 touchdowns in only 11 games for the San Diego Chargers in 2010. The Panthers have Steve Smith and a plethora of young wide-outs, but could use a veteran red-zone target like Floyd. Also important, Floyd has played in the Panthers offensive system for the last few seasons and could provide immediate familiarity in a shortened pre-season.
3) Sign Tommie Harris. The Panthers need veteran defensive-line help, especially at the tackle position. Tommie Harris was once regarded as one of the best defensive tackles in the NFL and shined under new Carolina Head Coach, Ron Rivera when he was the defensive-coordinator in Chicago. Recovering from an injury, Harris could possibly be signed at a cheaper, one-year contract. A move to Carolina could help him re-gain the level of play he once had by re-uniting with Ron Rivera. The New England Patriots are flying Harris into town on Monday for a work-out, so Harris may soon be off the market.
4) Sign Carlos Rogers. Cornerback is without question the most glaring need on this Carolina football team at the present moment. Richard Marshall has taken his talents, and massive ego, to Arizona and rookie corner, Brandon Hogan failed his recent physical due to a healing knee. Even if Hogan was 100%, it could be argued the Panthers still could use a veteran corner to go with Chris Gamble and Captain Munnerlyn. Though it seems at times that Carlos Rogers has bricks super-glued to his hands, he is still an above-average cover corner who does not give up a lot of big plays. Plus, another added bonus, Rogers is an Auburn University alum, and the Panthers seem to be stocking up on former Tigers this off-season.