Carolina Panthers: Happy New ‘League’ Year
Happy New Year as the 2019 Carolina Panthers season officially begins today.
All 2018 year end contracts are expired and players may begin signing with other teams or become involved in possible trades. As of 4:00pm ET, the new league year has begun and thanks to a brief two-day “tampering period”, where teams can contact potential free agents, many of the deals are already known, including a big signing by the Carolina Panthers.
Historically not known for making a splash in the free agent market, Carolina signing soon-to-be former Denver Broncos center Matt Paradis is an intriguing move. Losing veteran and captain Ryan Kalil to retirement opened up a hole on an already depleted offensive line. Instead of relying on a potential rookie to fill the gap, general manager Marty Hurney elected to pay Paradis, which should help up front and in the locker room.
It seems trades have also been more prevalent as the new year begins, especially in the wide receiver market. Both Antonio Brown and Odell Beckham are in for a change of scenery from Pittsburgh and New York, respectively. Brown heads to Oakland and Beckham landed in Cleveland.
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The Paradis signing leaves Carolina a small amount of cap space to work with moving forward but they should be able to address some more roster issues before the draft. If needed, Hurney could also make a move to clear room either by releasing someone or making a trade himself.
As the NFL calendar flips to 2019, a disappointing Panthers season is laid to rest. After starting with an impressive 6-2 record through half of their games, Carolina dropped seven in a row and finished the year at 7-9. Another shoulder procedure for quarterback Cam Newton has his availability somewhat up in the air but with an earlier timetable, expectations are he will be ready for training camp.
Losing six starters, there will be some new faces on both sides of the football when the Panthers take the field and the next few weeks, including the NFL Draft, should reveal a few of them. After Paradis, opportunities remain at defensive end, safety, linebacker, receiver and offensive tackle.
“Should old acquaintance be forgot?” Let the new year begin!