How can the Panthers re-sign Taylor Moton and Curtis Samuel?

(Brad Mills-USA TODAY Sports) Curtis Samuel
(Brad Mills-USA TODAY Sports) Curtis Samuel /
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Carolina Panthers
(Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports) Matt Rhule /

The Carolina Panthers would like to re-sign both Taylor Moton and Curtis Samuel, but can they afford to?

If you are playing “franchise mode” on the Madden NFL game, you have the option to turn off the salary cap and sign, release, and trade players away at your will with no penalty. In reality, general managers in the NFL don’t have that luxury, and complying with the salary cap is an obligation that must be managed year in and out by the Carolina Panthers and others across the league.

After successfully navigating a COVID-19 impacted regular season, before the start of the new league year, teams will have to get themselves ready to prevent complications that might be coming with a decrease in financial resources available in 2021.

The salary cap traditionally rises each year.

In fact, over the last seven seasons, the cap has gone up no less than $10 million after each season.

Since it was implemented in the NFL prior to the 1994 campaign, the salary cap has only dropped once, in 2011 during the lockout year.

In 2021, the salary cap is projected to decrease between 10 and 11 percent, landing around $176 million. Cap management will be a greater challenge for all teams going into next season.

Fortunately, the Carolina Panthers aren’t in a position where they have to cut or restructure any contracts before the start of the new league year prior to making any signings. The team is currently a little over $20 million under the projected salary cap.

Flashback to the last offseason. While the Russell Okung-Trai Turner trade was not popular among fans and didn’t make football sense to some, the left tackle coming in under a contract year helped to create the flexibility that the Panthers currently have whereas the Pro Bowl guard had two more years left on his deal.

Creating salary cap space is not only a necessity for signing free agents and re-signing players currently on a team. But it is also needed to sign draft picks, undrafted free agents, and to hold some in reserve in case moves need to be made during the regular season.