Let’s continue our look at the NFC South’s potential free agents with the Carolina Panthers.
The bad news is the Panthers don’t have the salary-cap room to re-sign many of their own free agents. The good news is it’s unlikely they’ll have a strong desire to keep many of those guys.
Their potential unrestricted free agents are quarterback Derek Anderson, defensive end Antwan Applewhite, tight end Gary Barnidge, defensive tackle Dwan Edwards, tight end Ben Hartsock, safety Sherrod Martin, cornerback Captain Munnerlyn, receiver Louis Murphy, guard Mike Pollak and linebacker Jordan Senn. Fullback/tight end Richie Brockel can become an exclusive-rights frree agent and defensive tackle Andre Neblett, safety Nate Ness and linebacker Jason Phillips are scheduled to become restricted free agents.
There’s not a single name on that list that the Panthers have to keep, although there are several role players that could have increased because the team is going to have to part with several veteran starters to get under the salary cap.
Applewhite, Edwards and Munnerlyn are likely to be the top targets for retention. But Munnerlyn, who the Panthers prefer to use only against slot receivers, believes he can be an every-down corner and may try to find a team that will use him as a full-time starter.
Martin is a former starter, but his career might be better off with a fresh start elsewhere. Anderson has been a veteran backup for Cam Newton the last two years, but I don’t think re-signing him is a high priority. The Panthers also have Jimmy Clausen under contract and, by now, he should know the offense as well as Anderson.