Wow. What a day. I'm not sure there has ever been a wilder and weirder one in Panther offseason history, at least in terms of sheer volume of maneuvers.
1) To think that John Kasay and Butch Davis basically got fired on the same day is remarkable. Who would have imagined that Wednesday morning? To me, Kasay's firing is even more stunning -- although I do understand the logic. But Kasay had a far better year than Davis did at UNC in 2010 -- no scandal, nothing but professional as usual -- and he will and should be back in his league (assuming he doesn't want to retire) quicker than Davis will be back in his. Here's my column on Kasay's dismissal.
ALSO, re: Kasay, , faithful readers, I'd like Panther fans to e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org with their favorite memories of Kasay's time as a Panther (also feel free to re-post them below, but be warned that I have had to delete all comments a number of times this month because of a noted uptick in bad posting behavior. That's why I want the e-mails, so I can be sure I get your memory intact. I will post some of the Kasay memories on this blog soon. On-field, off-field, whatever).
And now, on with the "five thoughts..."
2) I know a lot of you don't agree with this, but I think the Panthers should hire Jake Delhomme as a backup quarterback at the veteran minimum. He'll be cheap after the Cleveland experiment ended badly, I think he would like to come back and he's a perfect mentor for Cam Newton and Jimmy Clausen.
3) LB Jon Beason said on Taylor Zarzour's show on WFNZ-610 AM Wednesday that he thought trading Steve Smith for a second- or third-round pick would be a "joke" because Smith was worth far more than that. That's likely his value around the NFL right now, however, which is why I think the Panthers and Smith should make one last go at working it out. THURSDAY UPDATE: Smith has now said publicly that he's staying.
4) Interesting stats: Olindo Mare had 64 touchback kickoffs the past three years. Rhys Lloyd had 62. Mare hit 88 percent of his field goals in the same time period. Kasay hit 86.2. I can understand the Panthers figuring they can save some money by letting Mare do both jobs this year, but after firing Kasay they sure better honor him in a very public way (and if the very humble Kasay balks at this, they are just going to have to convince him).
5) Has anyone ever made more money off one good season than Charles Johnson? That $72M deal has sent reverberations throughout the league and through the Panther locker room. But I think it was a risk worth taking, and I also think signing DeAngelo Williams again was correct -- Carolina has a stable of fine running backs now, but to me a healthy DeAngelo still has a slight edge over the others.