Panthers Off-Season Plan
The biggest thing is to stop panicking. There is one franchise in the league that is good every year, and that is the Patriots. Everyone else is up and down, we were good for 3 years, and finally our record in close games swung and we had rash of injuries. It’s unaccountable that we have had the most concussions in the league. It’s not like our helmets suddenly became those ones that you used to get soft serve ice cream in. So, while Gettleman clearly made a few mistakes in the previous off-season. Namely starting with rookie corners, cutting Josh Norman, not investing in o-line. But he deserves the benefit of the doubt and a chance to atone for his mistakes. For everyone’s sake, we have to hope that the old dog can learn some new tricks. But if he can’t, here is what I would do if I found a Being John Malkovich door in my house that allowed me to become Dave.
1. Address the Problems with the O-line in two phases
First, with a weak tackle draft, it has to be address in free agency. Take a chance on Matt Kalil or Luke Joeckel, they have the talent but something apparently has not clicked. We could buy low on either and see if they can turn into something close to where there draft spot indicated. Second resign Trei Turner this off-season, don’t allow other teams to set the market for a pro bowler. Another option would be to spend 9 to 10 mil on a one or two year rental of Andrew Whitworth, who still is a top level tackle in the league even at 35. The second part of the plan would be grab a tackle in the third or fourth round, we have two third’s so that would make the most sense. A guy like Roderick Johnson from FSU, whose not a day one tackle could turn into some good with a few years of seasoning. Or go for with Julie’n Davenport, a small school guy with great physical skills.
2A. Bring in a veteran slot receiver
We have two trees on the outside and they are young as well. Too many times last season we lacked the dependable slot receiver. Someone to make the tough 3rd and 5 catch that Jericho Crotchery made over and over on the way to the Super Bowl two seasons ago. Plus I think his knowledge and experience was sorely missed in the meeting room on a week to week basis. We have already brought a prime target in for a visit, so lets go ahead and sign Victor Cruz for the slot role and look for some one explosive in the draft. Possibly in that third to fourth round range where a guy like Dede Westbrook would be perfect. Unfortunately, Cooper Kupp has probably already worked his way up into the top of the second round, so the value is no longer there.
2B. Go after a #2 WR in Free Agency
Let’s face it, Funchess failed to make a jump last season and Teddy Ginn is always going to be a roller coaster. So spend a bit of money something in the 7 to 9 mil a year on a guy like Robert Woods or take a gamble with a big play guy like Desean Jackson. Both offer different things, Woods is one of the better blocking WR in the league, which we value and he is young and makes tough catches with reliable hands. Jackson on the other hand is better version of Ginn, with more reliable hands. I prefer option A.
3. Franchise KK Short
He’s too good to let walk out the door for nothing. So slap the tag on him, which for a DT, is only more expensive than a safety, TE, and Kicker.
4. Address the DLine
CJ wants to come back, he will at another cheap team friendly deal. Talk to Addison and start with a reasonable number, somewhere in the 6 to 8 mil a season range, and if he accepts great, if not walk away. He’s not worth the 9 or 10 he probably will get on the open market. Replace him with a first or second round pick, I personally would be shocked if Tanoh Kpassagnon is not a Panther next season, if he’s available for us in the second round. Hell I could see Gettleman using the 8th on him, if he dominates the combine like he might. Also wouldn’t mind if we took Soloman Thomas from Stanford at 8, but for now we have other uses for the pick.
5. Aggressively pursue a safety in Free Agency
Pick up the phone and call Eric Berry’s agent, it probably will not amount to anything, but you have to make the call. If you can get him for 12 to 14 mil a season, something like 4 years for 48 mil, with about 25 guaranteed you have to do it. No one plays the second half of contracts anyway. But likely that doesn’t work. So you go after Tony Jefferson from the Cardinals, one of the better safeties last year, is only 24 and would be cheaper than Berry. Coleman was a great find, but at this point we know what Tre Boston is, he is a un-even erratic player. I don’t think that is going to change. The position has to be address. Adams and Hooker at 8 would be great but I don’t know if either will be there, plus as I mentioned earlier, we have another use for the that pick.
6. Revamp the backfield
Cut Cam Newton… Ok, not funny. But there are seriously people out there who think that is a good idea. Do they not realized how bad most of the other starting QBs are in the league are? There are 32 spots and maybe 15 qualified people to fill them. It’s to the point that people are ready to give up a top ten pick for a guy who has started two games. Or the fact that Kirk Cousins has an outside shot at becoming the highest paid player in the NFL. Think about that when you are ready to replace the one legit superstar this town and team have EVER had. Alright, off my soap box. But changes are going to happen to the people that Cam hands the ball off too. Toilbert is already gone, J-Stew is most likely gone as well. Curtis Artis Payne clearly has not done enough to show to coaching staff he is ready or capable and Fozzy is a change of pace back at best. So it leaves us with two options, one, go with Fournette or Cook with the eight pick. Or grab someone like Freeman from Texas or another back in the second and pray they are half as good as Zeke last season. On one hand I am usually totally against picking a running back in the first round, let alone in the top 10, because a great RB can be found in ANY round of the draft. But the more I look at our team and at these two RBs I see a great opportunity to land an explosive home run hitter that for as good as J-Stew is, could never be. So you gamble, and with our 8th pick we take Leonard Fournette.
Here is how we line up next season.
|Pos||No.||Player 1||No||Player 2|
|LWR||13||Kelvin Benjamin||17||Devin Funchess|
|RWR||19||Victor Cruz||10||Dede Westbrook|
|LT||73||Matt Kalil||71||Julie’n Davenport|
|LG||68||Andrew Norwell||0||Amini Silatolu|
|C||67||Ryan Kalil||66||Gino Grad.|
|RG||70||Trai Turner||79||Chris Scott|
|RT||74||Mike Remmers||60||Dayrl Williams|
|TE||88||Greg Olsen||84||Ed Dickson|
|QB||1||Cam Newton||3||Derek Anderson|
|RB||28||Leonard Fournette||43||Fozzy Whitaker|
|LDE||95||Charles Johnson||94||Kony Ealy|
|LDT||98||Star Lotulelei||65||Chas Alecxih|
|RDT||99||KK Short||92||Vernon Butler|
|RDE||96||Wes Horton||97||Tanoh Kpassagnon|
|SLB||54||Shaq Thompson||56||Jeremy Cash|
|MLB||59||Luke Kuechley||56||Ben Jacobs|
|WLB||58||Thomas Davis||55||David Mayo|
|LCB||24||James Bradberry||22||Leonard Johnson|
|SS||20||Kurt Coleman||22||Tre Boston|
|FS||33||Tony Jefferson||42||Colin Jones|
|RCB||26||Daryl Worley||23||Captain Munneryln|
|H||8||Andy Lee||5||Palardy, Michael SF16|
|PR||19||Dede Westbrook||11||Captain Munneryln|
|KR||19||Dede Westbrook||43||Fozzy Whitaker|