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Panthers mailbag II: Management approve of Cam Newton and 'Knockerball?'

4/10/2015

CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- I confess, I’ll be glued to the television today watching the final round of the Masters.

But before I got settled onto the sofa, I answered as many of your questions on the Carolina Panthers as possible.

Loved this first one.

@DNewtonESPN: I had the same thought. I asked management for a comment on Cam Newton playing "Knockerball.'' Here was the response: "We have no comment. Thanks.'' Read into that what you want, but after everything Newton has gone through in the past year, between the ankle surgery, fractured ribs and car accident, I would think the organization would want him to avoid any activity that puts him at risk. I'm not saying he shouldn't have fun. But putting yourself in a plastic bubble and launching yourself at others does seem to be risky -- as much fun as it might be.

@DNewtonESPN: If you want arguably the best athlete in the draft, Shaq Thompson is your guy. The issue with the 6-foot, 228-pound player out of Washington is where to play him. He does it all. He wants to play outside linebacker, but also could be a safety. To me he's ideal to groom as a future replacement for outside linebacker Thomas Davis, a safety from Georgia.

@DNewtonESPN: The Panthers may have closed the gap if 34-year-old Charles Tillman has another good year in him. Tillman, as the every-down corner opposite Josh Norman, allows Bene' Benwikere to return to nickel. Will the Panthers draft a corner? Probably so, but the best likely will be gone by 25. Perhaps the best way to make the secondary better is to make the defensive front even better. Pressure from that group will make most secondary units look good. Remember, Seattle may be coming back to the field as well. The Seahawks lost ends Red Bryant and Chris Clemons, cut for salary cap reasons. They also lost tackle Clinton McDonald in free agency.

@DNewtonESPN: I'll never say never, but general manager Dave Gettleman loves his draft picks. Having two extra fifth-round picks does give him some flexibility to move up a spot or two if he wants to trade the team's non-compensatory pick in that round. But I don't see any move significant unless Gettleman gives up something significant, and I don't see it happening.

@DNewtonESPN: Somebody asked this last week as well. I fully expect Thomas Davis to get an extension before the season begins. To do that, and give quarterback Cam Newton a long-term deal, I would suspect the Panthers will want to lower Charles Johnson's $20,020,000 million cap number. It just makes too much sense. Before adding cornerback Charles Tillman for $3.05 million, the Panthers were about $10 million under the cap. And about $7 million will be set aside for rookie and roster moves after camp begins.