The question is whether the Panthers will have to make additional moves before the season starts.
On paper, if everyone injured can return then we’re probably OK. However, as in years past, that may not
happen. Last year the Panthers went through 78 players during the regular season due to injuries and it was
similar in past years. So let’s play What If.
We’ll start with the Offense:
David Gettis is due back, but what happens if he’s not available or if one of the other receivers goes down?
Remember, we lost Steve Smith in back-to-back years so the possibility exists we will have to bring in a veteran
similar to Naanee last year.
Tight end is another area of concern. Last year when Gary Barnidge went down, even though we had
Jeremy Shockey on board it created the need to look around and Greg Olsen fell into our hands. If someone
falters here and Shockey’s still available, would we bring him back?
Along the offensive line, does a starter go down and do we have an ample replacement? Quality linemen
are hard to find late, but we did get lucky and acquire Geoff Hangartner after Geoff Schwartz and Garry Williams
went down. The question here is what we’ll get out of Otah.
Our backfield depth seems to indicate we’re OK unless someone major like Cam gets hurt.
Now to the Defense:
Are we happy with our front 7? If you ask most fans, we’re not. If you ask the coaches they seem happy, but
what happens if Edwards, Fua, or McClain goes down again? All 3 did last year. Most fans wanted us to use our
first pick on Fletcher Cox but that didn’t happen. So if the right free agent were to go on the block, like Olsen did,
would we jump? Same goes for defensive end, however a trade for someone like Osi Umenyiora wouldn’t
happen because he’d be too expensive.
Linebacker, on paper, looks solid but looks can be deceiving. Do we really believe Thomas Davis will make it back and
if so will stay healthy? If not we’ve got Beason, Kuechly, and Anderson, but will we look for another starter-quality player?
Cornerbacks and safeties may be our greatest concern. Last year Captain Munnerlyn and Sherrod Martin let
everything thrown their way get caught. Nakamura and Reggie Smith should shore up the safety position. The
question is: Can Brandon Hogan or Josh Norman start and manage to be an improvement?
So what remedies may happen? Look for several of the undrafted rookies (Matt Reynolds and Will Blackwell)
to make the team and develop like Geoff Scwartz and Byron Bell did. A last minute free agent receiver such as
Plaxico Burress is signed for 1 year to fill the gap. Jeremy Shockey resigns. A sleeper rookie such as Rico Wallace
emerges at WR.
Defensively we should look for a free agent pickup towards the end of camp when cuts start along the front
seven. Early in the process, even before camp begins, we sign another veteran linebacker. Finally the Panthers
address the corner position opposite Gamble. People will lobby for us to go after Mike Jenkins from Dallas, however
they have already turned down an offer of a 3 and a 4 pick from Indianapolis. His cost would be too high, so look for
someone coming available in a cost-cutting measure.
Now that teams’ OTAs are coming to a close, rosters should start taking shape. And so the fun begins.