The Carolina Panthers entered the off-season on a high winning back to back NFC South Championships. It didn’t come easy battling injury and off the field distractions,but they were able to do so and look to carry that momentum into 2015.
The Panthers came into free agency looking to improve the offensive line, especially left tackle where Byron Bell struggled to replace recently retired Jordan Gross. They had their sights set on Michel Oher to protect Cam Newton’s blindside.
They landed him on a 2-year deal worth 7 million dollars. For Oher, he is looking to bounce back from an injury plagued 2014 that saw him play just 4 games for the Tennessee Titans. Hopefully he can stay healthy and get his career back on track and stabilize the left side of the line.
Another player high on the Panthers shopping list was a former player wide receiver and return specialist Ted Gin. They were also able to land him on a 2-year deal worth 4.2 million dollars. Gin wasn’t as productive as a Cardinal partly because of the revolving door at quarterback.
I expect Gin to bounce back in an offense that he knows and is comfortable with. He is also an upgrade in the special teams where the team struggled mightily with fumbles and effective returns. These two were the 2 players targeted at the beginning and they were able to sign them for pretty cheap and help 2 big weaknesses in 2014.
The Panthers have also been hard at work resigning or extending their own 11 players, including Defensive Tackles, Dwan Edwards and Collin Cole both tight ends Gregg Olsen and Ed Dickson were signed to 3 year contracts as well. All played a key role in the recent success of the team smart move to keep those guys around.
The Panthers have not made splash moves to excite the fans, but the few moves they have made should improve the weakness and with 7 draft picks they should have many opportunities to improve the team in multiple areas.
The GM Dave Gettleman has stuck to his guns with the 3 year plan to get out from the cap mess he inherited from Marty Hurney. His plan has worked with really solid draft classes the past few years and some low cost moves that have worked out great he has created a winning culture in Carolina again,so I will not question what he has done so far. It will be interesting to see how the draft and the rest of free agency with Cam Newton contract negotiations a factor as well. Panthers fans, they are in a good place right now, lot to be excited about in the queen city!