Monday, March 25, 2013

Feeling better about Panther free agency

The Panthers' second week of the free-agency period was a lot better than the first, as the team made a splash (at least by their low-level free-agent standards) by signing return specialist Ted Ginn Jr. and have now also been able to re-sign cornerback Captain Munnerlyn and defensive tackle Dwan Edwards to one-year deals.

The Ginn signing was a small coup for new GM Dave Gettleman and should make Joe Adams, Kealoha Pilares and Armanti Edwards nervous. Those three guys all have gotten some kickoff and punt returning experience with Carolina, with very mixed results. Of the three, I think only one will likely be on the roster by the end of training camp.

Ginn should take over all return duties, and he might be the No.3 receiver as well (that's a little more questionable in my opinion, but certainly he's got a chance at it). Anyway, the days of the four-yard punt return are hopefully over. The Panthers' coverage teams improved a lot last year and will be helped by the re-signing of Jordan Senn. Ginn's arrival should help the return teams.

Getting Dwan Edwards back was less glamorous but no less essential. Defensive tackle is currently one of the thinnest positions on the team. Edwards is no young pup -- he turns 32 in May -- but he had a fine season in 2012 and the Panthers would love to get one more good year out of him in 2013.

Munnerlyn is a decent nickel cornerback, can fill in at punt returner (another reason for the returners mentioned earlier to be nervous) and knows what defensive coordinator Sean McDermott wants. He's been around long enough now he can actually qualify as a team leader. The Panthers have already added some more depth to the secondary, but who knows how that will turn out. Munnerlyn is a known commodity -- undersized but tough -- and there's no doubt he will see the field.

Getting Munnerlyn and Edwards back, as well as backup quarterback Derek Anderson for another year, are the sort of under-the-radar moves that ultimately make for a good team. As I've said before, the Panthers are in position for a good run in 2013, and I think they will make one. (And they better make one if Ron Rivera wants to coach a fourth season -- owner Jerry Richardson made him wait six days before telling him he could coach the upcoming season, his third).

The players they've lost or released in free agency -- Chris Gamble, James Anderson, Gary Barnidge -- will certainly sting a little, but that's not like losing Julius Peppers. To me, Gamble and Anderson were no longer difference-makers on the defense -- solid starters, yes, but not absolutely essential ones.

The draft on the other hand will be essential. Carolina needs help on both sides of the line and at wide receiver. The Panthers badly need to get at least one new starter on each side of the ball there. Because while they have been OK at holding the fort so far in free agency, other than Ginn they have made no significant upgrades. And if you're not getting better in the NFL, you're getting worse.

22 comments:

Anonymous said...

This draft is critical and I hope we can get a difference maker at defensive tackle. Imagine our linebackers with more daylight and our defensive pass coverage will appear stronger if we can get in the face of the quarterback that much faster.

Anonymous said...

So it IS all Armanti's fault!

irishfan said...

Kellen Winslow says the Panthers have talked to him. If he is healthy, that would be another great signing

Anonymous said...

We bring in Ted Ginn Jr and 2 of our own players and Scott feels better?

So a player that is a 4th WR on most other teams, a DL that is cut on other teams, and a CB that is a special teamer on the depth charts for other teams, and there is hope?

We are missing a legitimate DT, 2legitimate starting CBs, a legitimate replacement for Steve Smith not to mention a 2nd, 3rd and 4th WR.

No wonder fans have such a hard time knowing how good the panthers can be, because moves the panthers make are seen as "good", but they would get most people fired on other teams.

Go Panthers! said...

Gotta love the armchair experts like 10:06...

Ginn makes our ST better off the bat. Dwan Edwards, IMO, was a must sign. Contrary to what experts like 10:06 think, statistically he was one of the better DT's in the league last year. Add another DT during the draft and we should be good there. They're putting the pieces together as best they can with what they have to work with. It will take a couple of years to clean up Hurney's mess.

Mark Hairston said...

HHHEELLLPPP!!!

dabinsc said...

for Anonymous.....If I had your attitude I'd prefer to be anonymous too!!! In my opinion, the Panthers have shored up their core, at least the ones that mattered, as well as the secondary. I have lots of hope for next season while you're predicting gloom and doom as usual.
Keep pounding Gettleman, you're doing a helluva better job than the man you replaced.

Clay said...

Now that you feel better about what Dave Gettleman is doing, can we expect you to name your next child Gettle?

Scott Overby said...

Edwards had 6 sacks last year but is one of the WORST DTs in the league vs. the run. No upgrade there. The Panthers need to address DT and WR in the draft, something they have neglected for the past 5 years.

Exit 0 said...

I share neither Fowler's optimism nor enthusiasm. The Panthers, barring an apocalypse in a dozen other NFL cities, will be winning games that do not matter past the middle of the coming season.

JoeMama said...

Classic! People already talking about "upgrades" to last year's horrible group. There is nowhere to go but up folks. The simple fact is the Panthers are among the worst teams in professional sports. The record speaks for itself.

4 winning seasons out of 18 years.

Pathetic.

Sell the team to a competent ownership group Big Rat!

Anonymous said...

You know something is wrong when there is an article on a special teams signing in free agency.

Anonymous said...

Just wait until Ted Ginn Jr. catches a pass on 3rd and 7 but runs out of bounds a yard short of the first down marker. The guy is scared of contact. Steve Smith will be all over Ginn in practice. He might cry.

Larry Shaheen said...

Gamble being gone is no loss, he was never a difference maker! Far too overrated!

par said...

This team needs major help on the defensive line and corner.

Anonymous said...

ginn is an upgrade in the return game only.. he isnt better than lafell or gettis.. i think the panthers are hoping gettis is the "replacment" to steve smith.. our d-line is what is going to make or break the season.. as somone said earlier, if we get to the qb faster, our secondary wont look that bad.. also need to use our rbs in the run game more

Anonymous said...

So apparently no one remembers that 10th ranked defense from last year... that was minus Chris Gamble, and was 50% Luke Kuechly, 25% Greg Hardy, and 25% Charles Johnson, all of whom are still on the team. I'll admit, I have my doubts, but I'm not gonna sit here and just bash the Panthers for not making that eye popping signing in FA. The way to build and win is through the draft. That's why we got Dave Gettleman, he knows talent. Small school, big school, doesn't matter. This is why Gettleman is here. I have no doubt that he'll do a fine job.

DieHardCatXX said...

I agree with Anonymous #3. The players that have littered this pathetic roster for the past 3+ years are our biggest free agent signings?! It's a bad joke, that is not very funny. We've stood by and watched this garbage regurgitate itself thru the Hurney era and now we have a new figurehead, who seems to be making the same sort of non-moves that got this team to mediocrity and not really making a roster change that makes us fans say, "Wow that's a good move! Now we are making similar decisions to the decisions of winning teams in this league!"
Nope. I don't get that feeling.

Russell Cummings said...

We should sign two more free agents DT Tommy Kelly and CB De Angelo Hall. Draft WR,DT,T , and TE.

Anonymous said...

The cap situation is obviously dictating the free agency. We simply don't have the cap space to sign any superstars. Need help in too many areas. We have 2 overpaid runningbacks right now. Although its not their fault we don't have a line that helps em much.

Anonymous said...

The panthers have had a better start than most franchises. How long did the bucs and saints and falcons, texans, browns, seahawks suck? They sucked a very long time when their franchises started. Sucked for decades. The panthers try to win more than most teams. with the exception of lockout year. Been to a superbowl and 2 nfc championship games. Could be worse. Could have the browns, bills, jets or any of the other franchises that have done absolutely nothing over the last few decades. The panthers have even done better than the cowboys, which is the most overrated team, especially after resigning the choke artist quarterback to a $108 million deal for six more years to choke any big game he plays in. The cowboys have been worse than the panthers over the last 18 years. Remember that when you're crying about how the panthers usually finish 7-9 or 8-8. Also, signing big name free agents has always blown up in the panthers faces. Remember Sean Gilbert, keyshawn Johnson, resigning slacker Julius peppers who only played well 4 to 5 games a season, then get dominated by rookie offensive tackles during single coverage on him, and I'm a tarheels fan. No matter how hard they try, there are always people who aren't happy. It could be worse, look around the league. Many franchises are worse. Named them above, but also raiders and cardinals are much worse too.I would rather have the panthers. If there secondary plays as well as they did at the end of last season with backups on the field and they don't get away from the run game on offense, I think they could make the playoffs. Rule of thumb is that teams play better there 3rd year in the same system, especially the quarterbacks. Let's see if its true. They use same strategy as steeler's. Resign the players that play well, and draft the rest or small moves in free agency.

Anonymous said...

TURNUP! I DONT LIKE THIS SWAG SWAG SWAG SWAG SWAG