Panthers Pre-Draft Position by Position Analysis: Offense

SANTA CLARA, CA - SEPTEMBER 10: Christian McCaffrey #22 of the Carolina Panthers warms up during pregame warm ups prior to playing the San Francisco 49ers at Levi's Stadium on September 10, 2017 in Santa Clara, California. (Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images)
SANTA CLARA, CA - SEPTEMBER 10: Christian McCaffrey #22 of the Carolina Panthers warms up during pregame warm ups prior to playing the San Francisco 49ers at Levi's Stadium on September 10, 2017 in Santa Clara, California. (Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images) /

The Carolina Panthers have had a tumultuous offseason full of movement, so it’s worth taking a look at how each position group has shaken out. Let’s start off with the offense…

Quarterbacks under contract (all cap hit information from Spotrac):

Cam Newton, cap hit of $21,500,000

Garrett Gilbert, cap hit of $555,000

The starting quarterback position is obviously set with Cam Newton on what is now a bargain contract. With Derek Anderson still unsigned and likely gone for good as the backup quarterback, the Panthers are likely to draft a quarterback late in the draft, with Garrett Gilbert or an available free agent like Colin Kaepernick still options as well. Gilbert is a project the Panthers brought on from the practice squad during last season, likely to keep him from snatched up by other teams.

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Running backs under contract:

Christian McCaffrey, cap hit of $3,918,477

Fozzy Whittaker, cap hit of $1,150,000

Cameron Artis-Payne, cap hit of $746,565

With Jonathan Stewart gone, the Panthers should still be looking for a back to pair with sophomore star Christian McCaffrey. Nick Chubb and Rashaad Penny are probably the most likely candidates to hear their name called by Roger Goodell for the Carolina Panthers on Day 2 of the draft. There’s also been some buzz about Cameron Artis-Payne, who’s been with the Panthers for a few years, and he’s an option if a replacement for Stewart isn’t found. Whitaker has been with the team for a while as well, and is a change of pace back who’s always ready to return kicks and punts.

Wide receivers under contract:

Torrey Smith, cap hit of $5,000,000

Russell Shepard, cap hit of $3,525,000

Devin Funchess, cap hit of $1,756,649

Jarius Wright, cap hit of $1,566,666

Curtis Samuel, cap hit of $1,466,746

Damiere Byrd, cap hit of $630,000

Fred Ross, cap hit of $483,333

Rasheed Bailey, cap hit of $480,000

Austin Duke, cap hit of $480,000

Mose Frazier, cap hit of $480,000

Jamaal Jones, cap hit of $480,000

Devin Funchess is set right now to be the top receiver, and should have a big year. New additions Torrey Smith and Jarius Wright are set to contribute and be veteran leaders this year, and Damiere Byrd looks to build on what he started last season. Curtis Samuel is working hard to rebound from a serious injury last season, and Russell Shepard is hoping to bounce back from a down first year with the Panthers. The team will likely add a wide receiver in the draft, possibly with an early pick. Hopefully, the position group’s play will approve after some retooling this offseason.

Tight ends under contract:

Greg Olsen, cap hit of $9,750,000

Chris Manhertz: cap hit of $630,000

Evan Baylis, cap hit of $480,000

Kent Taylor, cap hit of $480,000

Greg Olsen is obviously set to be the top tight end, and the Panthers are in the hunt for a viable second option. Chris Manhertz, who has been with the Panthers for a few years, is an option and just might be in line for a productive season. The Panthers also will likely draft a tight end, possibly with an early pick. Mike Gesicki is probably the best bet to hear his name called for the Panthers if an early selection is used on a tight end.

Centers under contract:

Ryan Kalil, cap hit of $9,904,000

Tyler Larsen, cap hit of $630,000

Ryan Kalil is up for his last season, and he’ll aim to bounce back after an injury-riddled 11th season last year. Tyler Larsen was capable last year when he filled in f

or Kalil, and he’ll probably be part of the competition for the open left guard position left by Andrew Norwell.

Guards under contract:

Trai Turner, cap hit of $7,703,000

Greg Van Roten, cap hit of $780,000

Dorian Johnson, cap hit of $480,000

Amini Silatolu, unknown cap hit

Jeremiah Sirles, unknown cap hit

Trai Turner is established as the Panther’s starting right guard, but the left guard spot was left completely unfilled when Andrew Norwell deserted. Jeremiah Sirles, Taylor Moton, Tyler Larsen, and others are expected to compete for the starting spot, with Sirles probably the favorite after being signed away from Minnesota. This position will also likely be addressed in the draft with an early pick. Will Hernandez, Isaiah Wynn, Billy Price, and Braden Smith are all possibilities for the Panthers.

Tackles under contract:

Matt Kalil, cap hit of $6,900,000

Daryl Williams, cap hit of $2,046,280

Taylor Moton, cap hit of $945,035

Zach Banner, cap hit of $555,000

Blaine Clausell, cap hit of $555,000

The starting tackle position is pretty much set for the Panthers, with Matt Kalil manning the left and Daryl Williams manning the right.

Kalil had a rough first season with the team and is hoping to improve his play this season after a full offseason of training with the team. Daryl Williams was expected to compete with Taylor Moton before last season, but he broke out and had a great year. Taylor Moton is expected to compete for the starting left guard spot this year and is a competent backup.

Next: Panthers: James Bradberry refocused and ready for 2018

Overall, the Panthers offense is in good shape as long as some key players come back from injuries and Marty Hurney brings home a solid offensive haul from Dallas.