Offseason Overview: Panthers Looking to Claw Their Way Back to the Top

DeAngelo Williams

Franchise Player: OT Jordan Gross (tendered $7.455M); signed the tender March 20.

TRANSITION PLAYER: None.

UNRESTRICTED FREE AGENTS

• FS Deke Cooper played well after being tossed into the starting lineup following an injury to Nate Salley. Cooper may want to explore the market, but look for the Panthers to make a run at bringing him back.

• CB Curtis Deloatch was brought in as a fourth cornerback before injuring his knee. He is not considered a top priority.

• TE Christian Fauria was brought in to be a mentor to the younger tight ends on the roster. His job is done and at age 36 he may be ready to retire.

• LB Terence Melton was supposed to help out on special teams but tore up his knee in the preseason and went on IR. He still could return for a minimum contract.

RESTRICTED FREE AGENTS: None.

EXCLUSIVE RIGHTS FREE AGENTS: None.

PLAYERS ACQUIRED

• DE/DT Tyler Brayton: UFA Raiders; 2 yrs, terms unknown.

• G Milford Brown: UFA Rams; $5.5M/2 yrs, $1M SB.

• CB Ricardo Colclough: UFA Browns; $4M/2 yrs, SB unknown.

• OG Toniu Fonoti: FA; terms unknown.

• WR D.J. Hackett: UFA Seahawks; $3.5M/2 yrs, SB unknown.

• S Terrence Holt: FA Cardinals; terms unknown.

• LB Landon Johnson: UFA Bengals; $10M/3 yrs, $3M SB; 2008 cap: $1.7M.

• WR Muhsin Muhammad: FA Bears; 2 yrs, terms unknown.

• DT Ian Scott: UFA Eagles; terms unknown.

• RB LaBrandon Toefield: UFA Jaguars; 1 yr, terms unknown.

• OG Keydrick Vincent: UFA Cardinals; $2M/2 yrs, $400,000 SB.

• DT Darwin Walker: FA Bears; terms unknown.

PLAYERS RE-SIGNED

• QB Brett Basanez: Potential ERFA; 1 yr, terms unknown.

• WR Jason Carter: Potential ERFA; 1 yr, terms unknown.

• LB Donte Curry: UFA; 2 yrs, terms unknown.

• DT Gary Gibson: Not tendered as ERFA; terms unknown.

• OT Jordan Gross: Franchise FA; $7.455M/1 yr.

• OG Geoff Hangartner: RFA; tendered at $1.47M, terms unknown.

• RB Alex Haynes: Potential ERFA; 1 yr, terms unknown.

• FB Brad Hoover: UFA; 3 yrs, terms unknown.

• LB Brandon Jamison: ERFA; terms unknown.

• DT Damione Lewis: Potential UFA; 3 yrs, terms unknown.

• OT Evan Mathis: RFA; tendered at $927,000, terms unknown.

• S Nate Salley: ERFA; terms unknown.

• LB Adam Seward: RFA; tendered at $927,000; terms unknown.

• CB Dante Wesley: Potential UFA; 2 yrs, terms unknown.

• OT Travelle Wharton: Potential UFA; $36M/6 yrs, $12M guaranteed.

• DB C.J. Wilson: potential ERFA; 1 yr, terms unknown.

PLAYERS LOST

• QB David Carr (released).

• WR Drew Carter: UFA Raiders; $2M/1 yr, SB unknown.

• WR Keary Colbert: UFA Broncos: $7.3M/3 yrs, SB unknown.

• RB DeShaun Foster (released).

• C Justin Hartwig (released).

• DT Kris Jenkins (traded Jets).

• S Marquand Manuel: UFA Broncos; $4.5M/3 yrs, $500,000 guaranteed.

• DT Kindal Moorehead: UFA Falcons; terms unknown.

• LB Dan Morgan (released).

• DE Mike Rucker: (UFA; retired).

• QB Vinny Testaverde (UFA; retired).

• OG Mike Wahle (released).
 
The Carolina Panthers have been snake bitten with injuries as well as poor play at home as of late, and are looking forward to reversing both those trends in 2008. QB Jake Delhomme should be limited during camps, but is expected to be back full go in 2008, which is key for a team that shuffled QB’s a great deal in 2007. The team lost WR’s Drew Carter and Keary Colbert, as well as RB DeShaun Foster, but got back better players in return – WR D.J. Hackett from Seattle, and Mushin Muhammad from the Bears, and drafted RB Jonathan Stewart in the first round to upgrade the running game with DeAngelo Williams.

The team also addressed the O-line in the draft with taking Pitt’s Jeff Otah in the first round after they moved back into the round at 19. Later on they took fliers on two players in the seventh round that could add depth to the line. Carolina also rounded out their defense in the draft with Charles Godfrey at corner in round three, and then ILB Dan Connor from Penn State in the same round. DT’s Ian Scott and Darwin Walker also join the team to put some muscle up front. Coach John Fox knows the seat he’s on is getting warmer, and realizes that this team has to get better than its 7-9 mark from last season.

Offseason Grade to Date: B


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