It seems many Carolina Panthers fans are chomping at the bit this offseason to criticize Dave Gettleman and moves in free agency. If you are not one of these folks, I guarantee that you know one. As such, here is the ammunition you need to bring serenity to this most troubling of times.
First of all, free agency has not even technically started yet. The only players able to sign with the Panthers officially have been the ones already under contract with the team. Signings like the Carolina Panthers had yesterday happened all across the league. Each team takes care of its own house before looking outside.
And what about those signings yesterday? Lets take a look.
Brenton Bersin, the much maligned role player, signed for another year at a minimum salary. Bersin gets far too much fan criticism than he deserves. As far as I can tell this surrounds his short stint as a punt returner. Other than that, Bersin has actually been one of the more productive receivers the Panthers have had based on what few snaps he has played. Will Bersin make the roster this year? Maybe, I have learned not to count him out. But his signing yesterday does nothing to guarantee we will see him in a Panthers uniform come September.
Colin Jones was signed to a two year contract. Jones is a legitimate 4.3 runner and has been one of the only bright spots of a bad special teams unit for many seasons now. Jones is a known commodity that the coaching staff feels comfortable with. Good enough for them, good enough for me. It should be good enough for you as well.
Fozzy Whitaker, for the moment at least, is a mandatory piece of the roster puzzle for the Panthers. He remains the only capable third down running back on the roster. Sure, it would have been nice to have seen Cameron Artis-Payne develop into that type of role, but I am not even sure Artis-Payne makes the team this season. As such, the Panthers absolutely need Whitaker until an upgrade can be found (something they have been trying to do for years). Does this mean the Panthers won’t be drafting a runningback? Not at all.
You don’t have to like it, but for the moment at least, the Carolina Panthers need Fozzy in their life. Waka-Waka-Waka.
Finally, Charles Johnson signed a two year deal to stay with the team, turning down more money elsewhere. This is a two year deal in name only, as the deal is back loaded. Johnson would likely be released before any of that second year money is due. If you didn’t notice, Johnson actually had a pretty decent year last year. The stats may not have shown it, but “Big Money” was the second most productive defensive end on the team behind Mario Addison. This fact alone makes his current contract well worth the price, espescially if he can help draw Julius Peppers to the team.
In short, the Panthers moves on Tuesday were needed, even though they may not necessarily reflect what the final roster shapes up to be. The real free agency period begins on Thursday. Lets wait at least until then before passing judgement on this offseason.