Oct, 9, 2011; Charlotte, NC, USA; Carolina Panthers tight end Greg Olsen (88) makes a touchdown catch as New Orleans Saints middle linebacker Jonathan Vilma (51) and cornerback Tracy Porter (22) and outside linebacker Jonathan Casillas (52) defend in the fourth quarter. The Saints defeated the Panthers 30-27 at Bank of America Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Bob Donnan-US PRESSWIRE

How Does Bounty Gate Affect the Carolina Panthers?

Unless you are living under a rock, you’ve most likely heard the details of the suspensions the Commissioner has handed out to the Saints.

So here’es the deal: the Saints players and coaches had a system in place that would reward players for causing injuries. The news spread, and Goodell was forced to react. What follows is taken from ESPN.com:

The NFL handed down sweeping and unprecedented punishment Wednesday for bounties paid out on big hits, suspending New Orleans Saints coach Sean Payton without pay for next season and indefinitely banning the team’s former defensive coordinator, Gregg Williams, who now works for the St. Louis Rams…Goodell also banned Saints general manager Mickey Loomis for the first eight regular-season games next season, and assistant coach Joe Vitt for the first six games…In addition, Goodell fined the Saints $500,000 and took away their second-round draft picks this year and next.

I bet you are asking yourself: How does affect the Panthers? I can answer that, a very great deal.

First, the Panthers will have an easier time against the Saints this season. While the team may look as they normally would, the loss of Sean Payton might very well cripple the team. Last season they had a difficult time when Payton was upstairs and Carmichael was calling the plays. This time, they will not even have Payton upstairs, thus putting all the power in the hands of Carmichael. Now, I’m not saying he will doom the Saints, but they will not be as dominant as they were last season if Payton isn’t calling plays.

Also, this makes the NFC South anybody’s conference. The Bucs mad some huge offseason moves that could very well make them a Cinderella team. The Falcons have been quiet during the offseason, but have been contenders for the past few years. The Panthers were slightly active, making a few moves. But, they are a young team and are growing together. I’d say watch out for the Panthers to possibly take the division.

Finally, this really made me think about Roman Harper’s hit on Steve Smith last season. The hit came about 5 seconds after the play was over and Smith was already sitting on the ground in the endzone. So, there is a possibility that there were Panthers players on the list of bounties, luckily Cam Newton is too good for the Saints to hurt.

So, I’m sure the Saints fans will call me dumb for thinking that losing a coach will hurt their chances of being NFC South Champions. But, remember Drew Brees has yet to sign and offer put on the table by the Saints, and if he doesn’t hurry, the GM and Head Coach are gone and won’t be able to help negotiate.

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Tags: Cam Newton Carolina Panthers Drew Brees New Orlean Saints Sean Payton

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