2013 Season Archive

The day before 53

Where will the Panthers have a hard time deciding who to cut? Funny enough, because we lack a lot of higher end talent in several fields, it makes decisions rather difficult as the talent is pretty even.

Offensive Line

At center we have Byers vs Folkerts. Both UDFA’s have a ceiling of career backup, but I think Byers makes the 53 in his second year here while Folkerts is stashed away on the practice squad as a reserve center.

At guard, Hicks is ahead of Mobley, but realistically they are battling for a practice squad spot with Silatolu, Wharton, G. Williams and Scott well entrenched. Hicks has the advantage.

At tackle, we have Chandler vs Brown vs Chisolm. Gross, Bell and swing G/T G. Williams & Wharton it could leave just one more position open. I think Chandler has the upside because he’s shown excellent pass protection that continued in last night’s 4th preseason game. Brown could wind up on the PS.

Wide Receivers

Smitty, LaFell, Ginn, Gettis, Hixon and AE should all make the team. The others (Shaw, Ikharo, Berson) are left to battle a possible PS spot.

Running Backs

If Stew, Barner and Tolbert (“FB”) were all fully healthy, we’d be set to go for the year. But as of right now, either A. Smith or T. Poole will likely make the 53 (at least until/if Stew makes a return this season). I’m not sure on PS eligibility for these guys (i’m leaning towards they both ARE) so we’ll just have to see how things play out.

Tight Ends / Full backs

I would hate to see Brandon Williams miss the cut since he’s so raw, but every fan would agree we don’t have much in Brockel and Hartsock. Both don’t offer much to our offense. If Williams reverts to the PS, I think someone will swoop in off his potential alone.


I can’t really tell if it’s for sure, but Rivera made a lot of excuses for Jimmy last night. DA has solidified the #2 for another year but I don’t know if the plan is to eat up Jim’s dead money ($950k) to add a back end talent. There are more talented players that deserve the spot over him, but I can’t tell if they will roll with 2 qb’s this year per the talk around the community.

Defensive Line

For the DT’s it’s really Fua by himself and whether there is a spot left on the 53 (probably not if we carry a 5th DE). Walker could find a spot on the PS.

The DE’s have shown well in preseason and we have a solid 4 man rotation. You could see either Horton or Roh grabbing a 5th DE spot since both have shown good promise for UDFA’s. If both ended up on the PS, at least one (if not both) will likely be grabbed by other teams by the end of the season.

Defensive Backs

For the CB’s it’s down to M. White vs Moore vs Dockery. I’m a fan of Dockery but he has been out played by the “two Joshes” as well as Captain and Florence. However, I think he might be the odd man out. White is still a young project that can be stashed on the PS. Moore has shown to have good instincts but hasn’t been given a big amount of play time; but I think he squeezes in to the 53.

The safeties have to be the weakest part of our defense right now. Godfrey continues to whiff on runs and Mitchell can be quite random. To back them up, it’s down to Nakamura vs Jones vs Campbell. Campbell’s injury to his hamstring might determine his roster status. Colin Jones was traded for last year and is suppose to be a special team’s ace, but injuries kept him off the field. Naka is Naka, but he is likely to make the squad (with his fully guaranteed contract) and Jones has a chance to get in as well. I think Campbell might be PS eligible and if so should revert there.


Keek, Beas, TD, Blackburn, Senn and Klein are sure to make the 53. Jason Williams of the best of the remaining 3 on the 75 man roster. I think he likely makes the squad because of Beas & TD injury concerns, but he is not a sure lock.


This will really come down to special teams play for those who make it. I think Colin Jones vs Jason Williams could be the final 53rd spot battle but we typically already keep more DB’s than LB’s so if we keep Jones, we’d have to be comfortable with only 6 LB’s. Jimmy Clausen will also be considered as he likely will bring nothing to the team where but his contract is 95% guaranteed. I would be happy to part ways with him even though it likely results in signing another person that won’t dress on game day. Look for the results to be posted early to late afternoon tomorrow.


Panthers Cap Space: 53-man roster

Like all teams in the NFL, the Panthers are allowed a 90-man roster for the offseason that is eventually cut down to the final 53-man roster. Here’s a look at a possible 53-man roster/depth chart for the Panther’s 2013 season with cap calculations.


Defensive Line (DE/DT) 9 total
The four DE’s listed should make the cut. Mario Addison seems to be the incumbent 4th DE (besides that, there’s only 4 DEs under contract with published figures). The top 4 DTs will make the cut with the 5th spot open for competition. Fua is slotted as the 5th DT in my list simply for him being drafted and having the highest contract left, but he could easily be unseated by Linden Gaydosh (who Smitty has twice spoken highly of) or even Frank Kearse.

Linebackers (LB) 7 total
The 7 I chose also happen to be the highest paid LB contracts . The only player who might get cut is Jason Williams. He’s at the bottom of the LB depth chart and even missed our 53-man cut last year. He’ll have to battle for his spot in camp to stick as a special teams player.

Defensive Backs (S/CB) 9 total
This group is a wide open competition right now. Instead of taking the 9 highest paid DB’s here, I chose Norman and Campbell (10 & 11) over Jones and Dockery (8 & 9), and this only lowers the cap $86k. You can plug in nearly anyone on the bottom of the DB contracts and it really doesn’t change the numbers that much. This should be one of the highlight groups to watch during camp and preseason to see who earns their spot.

Offensive Line (C/G/T) 9 total
This group is pretty easy to figure out for 7 of the 9 spots. I put Jeff Byers in as the 8th, and Bruce Campbell as the 9th which conveniently represents the top 9 paid contracts of our o-line. The only thing that could change here is if Nate Chandler can push Bruce Campbell for the 4th tackle spot.

Quarterbacks (QB) 3 total
I know some are wondering why Clausen will make the roster — all but $3,000 of his contract is guaranteed. All three will make the roster.

Wide Receiver (WR) 6 total
The top 4 WR’s on this list shouldn’t be a shock to anyone; it’s the last 2 that can be debated. I went with Gettis and Adams strictly out of personal preference. Adams has 73% of his contract “guaranteed”, so he’s safe on my list. And with Gettis — I liked him in 2010, so I’m pulling for him. Armanti and Pilares have been made expendable by Kenjon Barner and Ted Ginn Jr, so I cut them from my list.  But really, once you get past the top 4 WRs you’re talking very little change in cap hits. Should be a fun camp battle for the last 2 spots.

Tight End (TE) 3 total
If you look at what’s behind Greg Olsen on the depth chart, you won’t be very impressed. Ben Hartsock is exclusively a blocking TE, FB/TE Richie Brockel fits into the same category, and Nelson Rosario and Brandon Williams are still works in progress. That being said, we’ll have to see how things play out in training camp. I went with Olsen, Hartsock (the 2 highest contracts) and Brandon Williams for his upside as a catching/blocking TE.

Running Backs (RB/FB) 4 total
DWill, JStew and Kenjon Barner will round out the 3 running backs and Tolbert will be our “FB”. T. Poole and A. Smith will have to find a spot on the practice squad this year to stick around. A true full back that could make the team is UDFA Michael Zordich, he could also contribute to special teams. His highlights are impressive and if we plan to run more traditionally, it might be wise to find a spot for him.

Special Teams (K/P/LS) 3 total
J.J. Jansen has been a reliable long snapper since 2009. Our current kicker and punter are likely to retain their spots against UDFA competition, though neither have impressed the fan base (especially Nortman)

Since most of the highest paid players will make the team, most changes will happen near the bottom salaries (causing minor cap changes). Without any big FA moves, we should come out with almost $12 million in cap carry over to relieve next year’s dead money ($8.7M). 2014 is already scheduled to have $115.4M in cap hits hits + $8.7M in dead money ($124.1M total). This figure doesn’t include the large amount of FA’s that need to be resigned and the 6 future draft picks ($4-5M hit); so the more carry over the better.

What we can hope to see next year are restructures from Beason and Godfrey; if need be, Gettleman could also shift salary to bonus money by restructuring Olsen and CJ (lowers their cap hits).  We are on a tight budget for the foreseeable future, but with a few solid drafts we should be able to undo the damage of the bad contracts of 2011.

Panther’s O-line: Who will make the cut?

As most Panthers fans know, our offensive line isn’t one of our best assets. The left side looks to be solid going into the season, but the right side could easily disappoint. Below is the depth chart with position “locks” in bold, “battling for a roster spot” in italics, and likely cuts left normal.

Kalil, Ryan C 295 28 7 Southern California
Byers, Jeff C 310 27 2 Southern California
Austin, Thomas C 310 26 3 Clemson
Folkerts, Brian C 303 23 1 Washburn
Silatolu, Amini G 315 24 2 Midwestern State
Hangartner, Geoff G 300 31 9 Texas A&M
Kugbila, Edmund G 317 22 R Valdosta State
Wells, Justin G 316 25 1 Saint Augustine’s
Mobley, Tori G 290 23 R Jacksonville State
Hicks, Hayworth G 336 24 2 Iowa State
Gross, Jordan T 305 32 11 Utah
Bell, Byron T 340 24 3 New Mexico
Williams, Garry T 320 26 5 Kentucky
Campbell, Bruce T 315 24 4 Maryland
Chandler, Nate T 300 23 2 UCLA
Brown, Patrick T 310 26 3 Central Florida

The Panthers carried 9 offensive linemen last year, but so far only 6 have likely solidified their roster spot.


Kalil – He should be good to go this year returning from his foot injury. His talent and salary ensures his roster spot.

Jeff Byers – The Panthers listed him as a center even though hew saw 4 starts at RG and 3 starts at C. He’s an inside utility man that made the 53 man roster last year, so he should have a good chance to make it again. By no means is he a starter, but he makes for a good depth player.


Geoff Hangartner – “Piggy” was graded at the bottom of both the RG and C rankings this past season. He started 4 games at RG, and 8 at C following Kalil’s injury. His price tag this year is $1.5M with no guaranteed money, so he would be easy to cut if the team chooses. However, if 4th rounder Edmund Kugbila can’t push Piggy for the starting job (most feel he can’t) then the team might stick with Piggy for “continuity”.

Silatolu & Kugbila – Silatolu should continue to improve while Kugbila needs to show us he was worth the 4th round pick in this year’s draft. If KugZilla can earn the right to start at RG this year, Piggy will become expendable.  Right away cutting him could save $1.5M — but if Kug needs a year to develop, at least he can save us from Piggy’s 2014 salary of $2.5M.

Garry Williams – A guard/right tackle that seems to be hit or miss on the field. In week 7 against the Cowboys he played at RT with Byron Bell inside at RG, but that combination didn’t pan out. However, he did seem to fair well at RG. He carries a $1.25M price tag  that makes him a money saver if cut. If he proves his worth as a utility guard/right tackle, then there’s no reason for him to miss the cut. (made last year’s 53 man roster)


The tackle depth past Gross and Bell is a big question mark, especially considering Bell is the starting RT. Bruce Campbell at LT is a complete mystery, Garry Williams hasn’t proven himself as an RT, and Nate Chandler is moving from DT to OT — these 3 are likely battling for the last 2 spots on the o-line.

Left tackle is easily our most pressing need with Gross set to retire and no one to fill his shoes. Bell continues to leave us wanting more at RT, but he will have to do for now.

Overall, I think Garry Williams will be the 7th linemen. From there it’s hard to say between Byers, Campbell and Chandler. I’m sure the coaches know what they’re getting with Byers and Campbell — but if Chandler shows promise at tackle, it will change things around. With Chandler as the 8th, the team would have to choose between having an inside swing-man or an outside only tackle. However, since Chandler is still unproven, it’s more likely at this point that Byers and Campbell will wrap up the 8th & 9th slot.

Who do you think will make the cut? Let us know your thoughts in our comment section!

The “will Cam be a captain” discussion has begun..

Six days ago, I wrote an article stating that Cam Newton would be voted one of two offensive captains this season.  After yesterday’s press conference with Cam, this conversation started here in Charlotte.

“Newton has to be a captain this year” is what WFNZ debated on air today.  Whether or not Cam becomes a captain, the media is going to have a field day with it.

If he is legitimately chosen by his teammates as captain, the spin is going to be “he isn’t a leader and he doesn’t deserve it” (because let’s face it, to most people Cam can’t do anything right).  And if he’s not, every Cam basher imaginable will be sitting behind their computer monitor blowing up every social network and NFL site possible writing god only knows what.

As a fan, you hope his leadership develops organically, and one shouldn’t expect any different.  I do believe he’ll be selected captain and can become a great leader — but with everything NFL it takes time, not debate, to reveal the outcome.

Will Cam Newton be a leader this season?

There are so many things that come to mind when the name Cam Newton is brought up.  Immaturity, sophomore slump, selfish, “Scam” Newton — but almost no one associates him as “leader”.  It’s fair to not say that because up to this point the perception has been otherwise. The team leaders on the offense have been veterans Steve Smith and Jordan Gross, but from what I can tell, Gross is going to step back in his last year and Cam will easily step up in his place.

Deshaun Foster gets set to run for enough yard...

Deshaun Foster gets set to run for enough yards to put my Fantasy team over the top for this week’s matchup – great to watch him do it person. Monday Night Football, Charlotte, NC. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

If you only paid attention to the first ten games last year where the Panthers started off 2-8, then you missed what seemed to be a bonding of our offense. The game plan that “mad scientist” Rob Chudzinski had been shoving down everyone’s throats was scaled back, allowing for more play-action passing and downhill running.  Instead of a base offense in the read-option, Newton flourished in a power formation where he set a franchise record of 152 pass attempts without an interception. Even more impressive was his improvement of 11TDs-2INTs in the last 6 games over his 8TDs-10INTs in the first 10 games

Coming into his third year, I think it will surprise everyone who is not a Panthers fan to see Cam wearing the C on his jersey. But if you have followed them this offseason.. if you saw those last six games and how the team bonded with him.. if you heard what his teammates have been saying.. if you saw or read the speech he gave in week 17 after the team saved Rivera’s job.. — then come September you won’t shocked at all.