Carolina Panthers: Is 2020 dead cap figure a necessary evil?

Dean Jones
(Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images) David Tepper and Marty Hurney
(Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images) David Tepper and Marty Hurney /

How much will their eye-popping dead cap figure hamper the Carolina Panthers in 2020?

It is no secret that the Carolina Panthers are really up against in from a salary cap perspective in 2020. This is down in no small part to their eye-watering dead cap figure.

Although this was relieved somewhat when legendary linebacker Luke Kuechly was placed on the NFL’s reserve/retired list this week. The Carolina Panthers are still significantly hampered by their current predicament.

Spotrac projects the Panthers’ dead cap to be $41.11 million currently. This is the league’s highest by a comfortable margin and has left them with little financial room to work with this offseason.

Some hard decisions have been made for the greater good by the front office since the 2019 season came to a conclusion. The Panthers parted ways with a wealth of veteran players during the first few months of new head coach Matt Rhule’s rebuild. And this has not only left them with a completely revamped roster. It also impacted their chances of making more big moves in free agency.

A recent tweet regarding Carolina’s dead cap figure also gave a bleak outlook on the upcoming campaign. According to Spotrac co-founder and editor Michael Ginnitti, no team that had a top-five dead cap figure going into the season ended it with a record over .500.

Nothing is really expected of the Panthers in 2020. Most of their roster will be learning on the job. And their coaching staff is also devoid of any real coaching experience in the NFL.

If they somehow manage to get to 8-8, it can be considered as a phenomenal achievement. That is probably their highest ceiling going into the season. And it remains to be seen whether or not this is attainable with very little time together before competitive action begins.

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Was acquiring so much dead cap money a necessary evil for the Carolina Panthers?

In order to move forward, sometimes you have to take a step back. That is something the Carolina Panthers could definitely claim relating to their dead cap situation in 2020. But it might turn out to be an inspired decision in the long run.

Much will depend on how their young and unproven roster gets on in the face of stern competition next season. Realistically speaking, any positives they can take from the campaign will be a bonus. And the Panthers’ financial resources could be much improved in 2021.

A recent prediction by Over the Cap projected that Carolina could have as much as $90 million to play with if they make the necessary cuts. This would make them bigger players in the free-agent market. And it also has the potential to speed up the rebuilding process.

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This would be a stark contrast from what Matt Rhule and the front office have worked with during his first few months in the role. And how he utilizes this potential free cash has the potential to definite his tenor.

It is vital that Panthers’ fans look at the bigger picture in 2020. There are going to be times when things look bleak. But what is essential is that the younger members of the roster show promise, develop as they go, and become a more cohesive unit.

This will give them a far better chance of attracting better players next spring. And that is something their aspirations to become a contender depends on.

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