We’re roughly a week away from the official start of the NFL offseason, which means draft and free agency talk will only continue to increase. If you’ve followed the Carolina Panthers at all within the past year, you know that wide receivers specifically have been a major topic.
Around this time a year ago, we learned that every wide receiver that caught a pass in a Panther uniform during the 2013 season would be catching passes elsewhere – some by force, some by choice. This sent fans into a frenzy, particularly over the releasing of the franchise’s all-time leading receiver, Steve Smith.
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This offseason is off to a similar start after the announcement that the franchise’s all-time leading running back, DeAngelo Williams, won’t be with the team next season (likely designated to be a June 1st cut). Gettleman seems to have learned his lesson, as the this release has gone smoother, although it’s not without its controversy.
The remainder of the offseason should play out much better than last season, however, thanks to a little more cap room to play with in free agency.
We could even see the return of one of those pass-catchers that walked after Carolina’s 12-4 season now that the Arizona Cardinals have released Ted Ginn. It’s purely speculation at this point, but one would think there would be mutual interest.
Ginn should certainly want to return considering his lone season in Carolina was by far his most offensively relevant year in the league.
In his seven seasons spent with teams other than Carolina (three in Miami, three in San Francisco, and one in Arizona), he had a total of six touchdown catches. That’s a total of just six receiving touchdowns in 104 games. In just his 16 games played with the Panthers, he had nearly that many with five.
With all that being said, that doesn’t mean Ginn didn’t contribute at all. In those seven other seasons, he took four punt returns and three kickoffs back for touchdowns and even had two rushing touchdowns in 2008.
His presence on special teams is something that was certainly missed among Panther nation – particularly in the playoffs when Brenton Bersin‘s confidence fielding punts was clearly all but gone. Ginn may not have taken a punt or kickoff to the house, but he averaged 23.8 yards per kickoff return and 12.2 yards per punt return – both very respectable numbers.
He did, however, have this awesome punt return for a touchdown with Carolina during the 2013 preseason:
Bringing Ted Ginn back would also help solve one of Carolina’s other issues – speed. He was clocked in at a 4.28 40-yard dash time – granted, that was a few years ago. He’s about to turn 30 years old, but he still has plenty of speed – certainly more than what’s currently on the Panthers’ roster.
His time in Carolina wasn’t all perfect, though. Ginn struggled some with catching deep passes, most noticeably after he had already beaten his man. That being said, his sheer presence alone can help keep defenses honest by forcing them to respect his speed. This would open things up some in the run game and spread the field for Cam Newton.
After a lackluster year with the Cardinals, the Carolina Panthers could get Ted Ginn back at a great price. If they’re able to bring him back, that would allow them to focus more on their other needs, such as on the offensive line and in the secondary.
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