Tuesday, February 24, 2015

What next for Panthers after correctly parting with DeAngelo, Bell?

Let us not get overly emotional about the release of Carolina running back DeAngelo Williams. It was absolutely the right thing to do.

Williams was no longer an effective NFL running back. He was one for a long time, but by the end of 2014 I thought he was the fourth-best running back on the roster.

As I wrote back in January, this should be one of the easiest decisions the Panthers make the entire offseason. While I thought the Panthers should have kept Steve Smith around one more year instead of release him before the 2014 season, if anything I think they kept Williams around one year too long. Certainly, he needed to be released by now. I am sorry he doesn't feel like the Panthers supported him when his mother died, but let's not let that cloud the on-field issues.

This column I wrote back in January listed seven things I thought the Panthers ought to do in the offseason. They have now accomplished the first two on my list -- release Williams and don't bring back left tackle Byron Bell, who was simply not good enough last year.

Here are the other five in the list and an update as to where the Panthers stand with each:

1. Sign a tackle – and then draft another. I think the Panthers will do both of these things. My biggest problem with what Panthers general manager Dave Gettleman didn’t do in the 2014 offseason had to do with him trying to get by cheaply at both tackle spots. That was a mistake.

2. Don't completely ignore the dollar store. Gettleman said in January: “Last year we were shopping in the dollar store. This year we’ll be able to move up in class a little bit.”

That’s fine, but the dollar store is a great place to upgrade the mostly awful special-teams coverage and return units. Hello Ted Ginn Jr.?If he comes at a reasonable price, I would like to see it -- as would Panthers fullback Mike Tolbert.

3. Stay far away from Greg Hardy. I think the Panthers will ultimately do this even though the charges against Hardy were dismissed. To me, the risk doesn't line up with the reward.

4. Make inroads with Cam. The Panthers are doing this, having reopened negotiations on a contract extension with Cam Newton.

5. Keep more continuity. Late in 2014, the Panthers had 16 new players among the 24 key positions on offense and defense (I am counting the third receiver and the nickel cornerback as starters, too). Only eight players were the same from 2013.

That's too much turnover -- way too much -- for a team that won 12 games in 2013.

Williams and Bell? They were properly jettisoned. But this team does not need a major overhaul. Last year's overhaul backfired to some extent, and I think Gettleman knows that. This team needs to have far more continuity. As for DeAngelo, he will leave as the team's leading rusher, and he will be missed.


JoeMamma said...

Awww, it seems that Scott received a command from Jerry Richardson again. Time to whitewash another pathetic and horrible move by the ownership/management. It's a great thing that the team has it's own spin machine and propaganda arm in the Observer.
Public support waning? Just write another article on how great this team and the ownerships is. Facts do not matter to the sportswriters or the fans. It's simple, this is one joke of a team. Nationally people laugh at the ineptness of this squad.

Danny said...

I think your first sentence is missing a "not", there, Scott.

Scott Fowler said...

You were right, Danny, thanks. I fixed it. Yes the point is NOT to get overly emotional about DeAngelo's release -- it needed to happen. He is not effective anymore.

asacks1 said...

First off , those are pretty harsh comments about the best RB this franchise has ever seen . I don't believe he is washed up by any means . He was hurt , no he isn't . Given the proper amount of carries , I can easily see him running for 1,200 plus yards with another team . He was also rare ...in that he is a great human being as well as athlete . We should mourn his loss a lot more than your " toss him in the garbage pile" mentality . I expected more from you , since you have covered this team for such a long time . He is a part of the Charlotte fabric . He lives and plays here . He is great in the community ....very accessible to fans ...and genuinely a nice guy . To me ....he will be missed !!! As far as Hardy goes ......WE NEED HIM !! He will now come with a discount , and he was not convicted of anything . If we disregarded every talented player for some trouble they had ...we would be watching BYU level talent in the NFL . You just need to put clauses in the contract about behavior . If he crosses any of the lines , he gets cut . Don't give him too much guaranteed money , and you have nothing to lose ....but a lot to gain . It's time you showed some heart and smarts Scott !!!

Rhyno said...

JoeMamma - Scott is absolutely correct to say what he did. You're letting your emotions get the best of you when we all know that the Panthers are charged with putting the best players on the field. Neither Bell nor Williams fit that bill.

Charlottean said...

if they actually sign a tackle and then draft one, i'm ok with letting bell go. but otherwise?

the guy wasn't at all a solid left tackle. but he was a passable to solid right tackle. and he'd be an above average backup who can play guard as well. there's value there. he knows the system, he's a competitor who wants to start, he can't possibly be expensive, and you gotta have 9-10 olinemen anyways. seems like it would be cheaper to keep her in this scenario.

for williams.....it's just steve smith all over again. you cut a guy after a down year and say he's getting old when he still has gas in the tank. and you don't save enough to upgrade. if we make an upgrade at runningback on 2 million, i'll be blown away.....you would have to be discounting the whole package of skills and benefits dwill brings.

not to mention the value that it brings to let the guy retire a panther at the end of his contract as opposed to begging him to play for a division rival for a year or 2 while we pay him for this year.

it just doesn't seem logical. the comment was made "we don't run the ball enough for you and stewart both"......could have just stopped the sentence after "we don't run the ball enough" and you would have had the problem staring you right in the face.

he had a down year. in a season where we had no offensive line. it's not like the guy can't pass protect anymore. it's not like the guy is running a 4.8 40 or something.

more value in keeping the guy than the savings.

Angela Benson said...

If anybody is interested in context for DeAngelos' comments, read David Newton's article on ESPN, DeAngelo Williams adds context to his 2014 behavior, http://espn.go.com/blog/nfcsouth/post/_/id/60003/deangelo-williams-adds-context-to-his-2014-behavior

It provides some good insight.

SolidFootballMind said...

You guys are silly to think the Panthers shouldn't have released Deangelo!! While I appreciate what he did during his time here, it was definitely time to move on from him. He was going to make too much money this season for the production he's shown the past few years! He is not an elite back anymore. And for those who seem to think so, I'm so glad that you're not a GM for any sports franchise!!

Anonymous said...

All of us was sorry for the loss of DWills mother, But life goes on. So many of y'all who wants him back won't be happy when we have to watch another season of soon as he get the ball he's on the ground. Absolutely Unexcepted! Out of all those seasons after 2008, the offense could not have been that bad. When other teams let big names they do just fine. Why is bad when Carolina do it? Smith had a wonderful season with the Ravens, but where was all that in his last play off game with the Panthers and seasons before? People tend to forget that only ten point play off game that was an absolute disgrace! Did everybody forget?

Anonymous said...

Some of you get way to attached to the players. We're a relatively young NFL team and as the fan base grows and get more knowledgeable they will understand that this is a normal operation of all the teams. NFL careers are short.Williams may have been the best RB we ever had but lets not kid ourselves, he was not a franchise RB. Some Rb's perform well consistently. Some Rb's get hurt a lot and play well at times when they are able to play. Williams was more that type of back. That is not a knock on his ability as much as his bad luck concerning getting hurt.

Anonymous said...

Pro Football Focus list Bell as the next to last worse left tackle in the NFL this year. Last year he was rated as the worst right tackle. So spare me with your lack of ability to not understand that there are golf caddies more capable of guarding Cam's blind side than Byron freakin Bell.

gaineristheman said...

I'll miss D-Will but he needed to be released. He was overpaid from the time Hurney gave him that huge extension. His production has dropped off and whether its from injuries or age or a combination of both it is the right football move. This is a different situation from Steve Smith's. Steve's release was more about locker room and his personality. D-Will's is about production, age, and contract. In the NFL its never a good idea to get too emotionally attached because most players don't finish their career where they started. Especially RBs.

Anonymous said...

re wide receiver....what is the status of Stephen Hill? Is he still a Panther? Is he any good?

Berdj Joseph Rassam said...

I totally agree with all 5 of your recommendations for the Panthers.