Oct 16, 2011; Atlanta, GA, USA; Atlanta Falcons tight end Tony Gonzalez (88) is tackled by Carolina Panthers middle linebacker Dan Connor (55) after catching a pass during the fourth quarter at the Georgia Dome. The Falcons defeated the Panthers 31-17. Mandatory Credit: Dale Zanine-US PRESSWIRE

Examining the Carolina Panthers In House Free Agents

Free Agency begins next week, and the Panthers have quite a few free agents on the squad. The team relied on a few of the free agents, but many are expendable.

The Panthers have one of the highest cap’s in the league, and are going to find it extremely difficult to manage the market if they don’t restructure some contracts. Thomas Davis is the biggest cap hit that needs to be restructured and Travell Wharton is taking up a large amount of space as well.

Below is a list of the players that are of most interest to other teams, that the Panthers should attempt to resign.

Jeremy Shockey is a free agent this year, but doesn’t provide enough upside for the Panthers to dump the amount of money he may require to stay around. He’s a core player from last season, and could be a great asset in the development of Cam Newton, but with Barnidge sitting behind him, Shockey is ultimately expendable.

Dan Connor was a valuable player last season and seems set on testing the market this off-season. He should be resigned at all costs, but again the price must be right with the amount of cap space the Panthers are limited to.

Geoff Schwartz has been a solid piece of the O-Line since joining the team. He has the ability to play both Guard and Tackle and with the O-line a bit shaky last season, he’s a must keep.

Derek Anderson has said that he is happy in his role in Carolina. No doubt he had a hand in the development of Cam Newton, and if last season is any indication of his abilities, he is one hell of a mentor. I’ve lost all faith in Jimmy Clausen and think the Panthers should resign Anderson to help with the continued development of Newton.

Players such as Legedu Naanee and Thomas Williams had their moments last season, but did not impact the team enough for any major resigning. Both players could find homes elsewhere, but the Panthers should cut ties. Again, the cap space is limited and the team has to spend wisely in house, if they want to make an impact during free agency.

Don’t look for a mad-house of signings like last year, but expect the Panthers to make some surprising moves, in order to help the team become playoff bound.

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Tags: Cam Newton Carolina Panthers Dan Connor Derek Anderson Free Agency Geoff Schwartz Jeremy Shockey Legedu Naanee Thomas Williams

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