But as far as reworking the deal, how?
I don't think we can change his guaranteed money....he will already count 5mil against the cap whether he plays or not. That money is already in his pocket but counts against the 2014 cap. I don't think it can be changed. Vet minimum for him is close to 1mil I believe. Do you think he plays an entire season for that, or makes 18% less to sit out the whole year?
To be honest, I don't know enough about an auto-termination clause in a contract to know if you can change it after it's put in. I assumed it was added as a wink-nod agreement between Gross and the Panthers to do something with it later (I.E. retire before it triggers, or remove it before it triggers with some sort of extension). I, frankly, just never understood the point of the auto-termination on either side and figured something else was going on behind the scenes.
As far as the contracts of the other guys go:
Dwan, as you said, can be cut for some savings and could be redundant if Kawann "Too" Short plays well.
I'd say a paycut could be coming for Johnson. You might be able to talk him into believing that lopping a million or two per season off his deal a year still gets him more money than he'd see in a down market (we can cut him after this season for a cap savings of almost 3 million.
I agree with what you said about Tolbert, but at some point we are just going to have to face facts and realize that we can't make the talent equal production at runningback amongst so many players; it's just too hard to spread the ball correctly, and we'll have to take the hit and cut somebody. But yeah, Deangelo is the most likely amongst them, like you said.
The situation is kind of sticky going forward, and hard decisions and negotiations have to be made, but we aren't backed into a corner as badly as we were this season. The only cap danger going forward would be the extensions of Cam, Hardy, Lafell, and eventually Kuechly not working out. Which is always a possibility.