A true fire sale is when you’re getting rid of good players in their prime. Aside from Peppers, none of these guys is in his prime. Delhomme was old and, after his dismal play last season, this decision shouldn’t seem as shocking as many are making it out to be. Muhammad’s also old, but I’m not totally ruling out the possibility of him re-signing with the Panthers.
Kemoeatu, Lewis, Diggs and Johnson? They were role players, who were at the back end of their contracts. They were due salaries that were higher than their actual value.
If the Panthers start getting rid of those guys, then you’ve got a real fire sale on your hands. But these were pretty basic football decisions (although the Peppers situation was much more complicated). The Panthers have some young guys like Dan Connor, Everette Brown and Charles Johnson that they have high hopes for and that they want to get on the field.
I also believe owner Jerry Richardson has a hand in all this. In part, I think this is a message to players about the uncertain labor situation. Like many owners, Richardson, is worried about the possibility of a lockout in 2011. In an uncapped year, Richardson is slashing costs. These moves aren’t much different than what the Panthers would do in a capped year.
Richardson is showing the rest of his players the oil/water/money well, while not dry, isn’t flowing freely these days.