Panthers in free-agent danger?

July, 20, 2011
7/20/11
6:49
PM ET
They were 2-14 last season, so the Carolina Panthers can’t have much talent, right?

Actually, that’s quite wrong. Last year’s debacle had a lot more to do with John Fox’s status as a lame-duck coach and failure to embrace a youth movement than the talent level. The Panthers had guys like Jon Beason, Jordan Gross and Steve Smith on their roster.

They also had guys like Charles Johnson, DeAngelo Williams, James Anderson and Richard Marshall. Those last four guys are potential unrestricted free agents and they’re a big part of the reason why this Insider postInsider ranks the Panthers as one of five teams with the most to lose in free agency. All four of those guys could get significant interest from other teams because they all have talent.

Carolina fans shouldn’t get too frantic about that. The Panthers should have more than $40 million in salary-cap space and they’re going to make a hard push to keep their own players. They could let Marshall walk.

But they’re going to do everything in their power to try to keep Johnson, Williams and Anderson. Talks were held with all of their agents before the lockout and they know the Panthers want to keep them.

Pat Yasinskas | email

ESPN Tampa Bay Buccaneers reporter

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