Where's the money? Offensive line

July, 22, 2014
Jul 22
8:00
AM ET
A look at the offensive line position in my series on where the money is for the Carolina Panthers:

Total position spending: $17,624,047

League rank in spending: 28


Analysis: Yes, four teams -- Arizona, Detroit, Kansas City and Pittsburgh -- are spending less under the 2014 cap on the offensive line than Carolina, and yet public perception says Carolina is in the most dire need for help. Indianapolis is spending less than a $100,000 more and there's not a woe is me cry. But bashing the offensive line is nothing new at Carolina. It was considered the weak link a year ago and it turned out pretty good considering both starting guards were lost to injuries. Talent wise, this unit has a chance to be better. You can't discount the loss of left tackle Jordan Gross to retirement. But in Nate Chandler or Byron Bell they have two players who at least can match Gross' athletic ability, especially Chandler. Even better, they count less than $3 million between them on the 2014 salary cap. Whoever wins the position, the Panthers have a bargain if they perform close to Gross' standard. The loser of that battle likely will start on the right side, so there's potentially another bargain. The guard position is full of bargains, from Amini Silatolu returning from a season-ending knee injury to rookie Trai Turner that the coaching staff absolutely loves. And then there's Kalil. At $7.2 million he keeps this unit from being the cheapest in the league. With four Pro Bowl selections, he gives this unit a solid base from which to build. As I mentioned when this series began, the Panthers are about $6 million under the cap. Had they wanted to get in a bidding war with Tampa Bay for Cincinnati left tackle Anthony Collins, who got a five-year, $30 million deal, they potentially could have. They didn't because they didn't feel Collins at $6 million a year was significantly better than Bell or Chandler. If they're right, they fell into another bargain. If they're not, they'll fall in the standings.

David Newton | email

ESPN Carolina Panthers reporter

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