With everything that is happening in the NFL it’s easy to leave the Panthers by the wayside. During the current offseason the Panthers have been expectedly quiet. However, the Panthers have made a few moves and cut some of their losses to increase cap room for the expanding franchise.
Charles Towne Panther and I have both reported on the free agent pickup of Corner Back Drayton Florence, and I have reported on the signing of Defensive Tackle Colin Cole, but another move was made before the free agency period. The Panthers signed Wide Receiver James Shaw on Valentine’s Day. Shaw went through an entire season in the NFL as an undrafted free agent, after graduating from Jacksonville State in 2011. I do not expect anything from Shaw. It would be great if he stuck around after training camp and turned out to be a standout in the preseason, but I don’t really see him sticking around after training camp.
The Panthers have also sustained two losses during the free agency period. The Panthers cut Linebacker James Anderson earlier in the month. I found this move extremely surprising. I expected them to cut a Linebacker during the offseason, but I did not expect this. I thought Jordan Senn, Jon Beason, or even Thomas Davis to be cut, but I did not foresee James Anderson being cut. However, it does make the Panthers agenda known. It seems to me that Panthers are putting a ton of faith into Jon Beason, who is affected the most by the move. Beason has also gone on record telling the official Carolina Panthers website that, “I was drafted as an outside linebacker. I can play the position. I am familiar with the position. Some people may think I’m built for the position, I want to do whatever it takes to help the Carolina Panthers.”
Also, in an article I wrote last week, the Panthers had ten players listed as unrestricted free agents, and one of them was picked up two days ago. Wide Receiver Louis Murphy signed to the New York Giants on Saturday. Murphy wasn’t exactly the greatest free agency pickup made last year, but he proved to be somewhat effective. Panther fans should remember Murphy as the player who caught a 50 yard pass from Cam Newton. The pass kept a drive alive during a game that proved crucial to the Panthers moral, the game against the Philadelphia Eagles. That is basically his biggest play he made as a Panther. I realize he probably made a few more plays that proved more valuable, but it’s the big plays that most people remember, and that was the biggest play I remember from him.
There has also been some news concerning some of the current Panthers contract renewals. Both Dwan Edwards and Greg Hardy have both asked for contract extensions and only Dwan Edwards has been approached with an offer. The details of the offer have come to light thanks to CatScratchReader.com, and from the looks of the offer, it seems feasible that Dwan Edwards will not be back with the Panthers next year. The Panthers offered Edwards a 1 year, 1.5 million dollar contract, the exact specifications of the contract he signed last year when he first joined the team. Without a pay raise in the works, I would not expect to “Big” Dwan in a Panthers uniform next season.
Along with Dwan Edwards, Greg Hardy has also approached the Panthers for a contract extension. Hardy, who is in the last year of his rookie contract, had a breakout season last year. Hardy and his agent have picked a terrible time to ask for an extension. The Panthers are currently strapped when it comes to the salary cap, only being 3 million dollars under the 123 million dollar salary cap the league set for the 2013 season. Though the Panthers have until next year to reach a deal with Hardy, the fact that he asked for one now after his stellar season last year makes me wonder if it would be prudent for the Panthers to negotiate Hardy’s contract sooner than later.
So that was the less exciting news out of the Carolina Panthers franchise, but I feel like it needed to be told. Please leave your thoughts in the comments below, I would love to hear them.