The Carolina Panthers have been relatively quiet since the beginning of free agency – but that isn’t necessarily a bad thing.
General manager, David Gettleman, has a reputation of making smaller moves and avoiding the hoopla when it comes to offseason signings. At least though these first few days, that’s the approach we’ve continued to see.
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Wide receivers like Randall Cobb, Jeremy Maclin, and Torrey Smith flew off the shelves, sending many Panthers fans into a frenzy. Their biggest acquisition thus far has been bringing back speedy receiver and return man, Ted Ginn. They’ve also resigned a few of their own key guys, which have been subtle, but important moves.
What Gettleman has been doing is safely addressing the team’s pressing needs without throwing away a lot of money by overpaying during the free agency rush. As the market settles, prices could (and should) come down a bit.
There have already been a few instances of teams overpaying for players as options dwindled down. For instance, the San Francisco 49ers’ deal with Torrey Smith. Don’t get me wrong, Smith is a talented player (and one I advocated for Carolina to pursue) but the $8 million per year that he signed for is well above his value.
That’s the type of deal that can limit your possibilities for the remainder of the offseason without making that much of an improvement.
The Williams signing was puzzling for many fans, but it’s one that could pay off. He’ll likely only be a special teams player, as it’s hard to imagine he’ll earn reps at wide receiver or cornerback (the two positions he’s played in the past). That being said, the Panthers needed big upgrades on that side of the ball, as they ranked as one of the worst special teams units in the league last year.
At 6’1″ and 207 pounds with 4.2 40-yard dash speed, Williams has the potential to make a difference. This is exactly the type of move that Gettleman is known for. It’s also exactly the type of move Carolina needs to make for at least one more offseason until they’re out of a strict salary cap situation.
That salary cap situation is also why Gettleman had to make the difficult, but smart, decision to release DeAngelo Williams.
Fozzy Whittaker‘s potential made releasing Williams a little easier and proved that Gettleman has an eye on the future when making decisions – which is an area in which many general managers fail. It’s also the reason why the Panthers are in their current cap situation, so it’s nice to know that with Gettleman in town, that won’t be an issue.
David Gettleman’s popularity may not be at an all-time high, but he’s allowing the Panthers to compete while also building for the future. We may never see the big-name signing that so many fans are yearning for, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that big things aren’t brewing in the Carolinas.
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