Might be a little early to be doing this, but the Beason trade has me thinking about the future a bit. I'm not going to touch the coaching situation at this point.
PLAYERS TO CUT:
DeAngelo Williams: Yes, he's playing well, but he's 30+ and Stewart, when healthy, is better at this stage of their careers. Not to mention Kenjon Barner has shown potential. Besides, RB's are a dime a dozen these days.
Charles Godfrey: We've seen with Beason that an achilles injury can be very hard to come back from. Godfrey has never been more than an average safety at his best. He's overpaid and with our front 7 it's not like we can't find a cheaper alternative.
FREE AGENTS TO RETAIN:
Greg Hardy: The big one, obviously. Some have said we should let him walk, but I disagree. Unless he legitimately wants C.J. money we need to keep him. I think Gettleman will be able to get a long-term deal done or if nothing else franchise him and trade him for a 1st round pick the way the Chiefs did with Jared Allen a few years back.
Jordan Gross: He's said he'll either be a Panther or retire. I say bring him back on a 1-year deal to shore up the LT position in the short-term - or if we land a LT early in the draft Gross can play RT - or the rookie can. Either way, it's an upgrade.
Ted Ginn: If for no other reason than his return ability he needs to stay. However, he's shown flashes that he can be a viable weapon on offense. Unless he starts demanding too much money we need to keep him in the fold.
Domenik Hixon: Our WR corp is going to be decimated after this season with only Smitty remaining under contract. We need to fill out the position anyway, and Hixon is solid depth and should come cheap if we bring him back. Plus, he already knows the offense.
Colin Cole: Should come cheap and is solid depth along the DL. Considering we'll be losing Dwan Edwards, this would be a good move.
Captain Munnerlyn: I have a feeling Gettleman just doesn't put a lot of resources into the secondary and for that reason he'll probably look to bring in someone more or less around Captain's skill level. That being the case, why not just bring back Captain himself? This obviously changes if Melvin White can develop into a starter and Josh Thomas continues to develop, but even then Captain is a solid nickel corner.
Hakeem Nicks, WR, Giants: This seems like a no-brainer to me. Nicks is a hometown guy and looks to be unhappy in N.Y. Plus, Gettleman has connections there as well. Assuming the Giants continue to struggle it seems likely he'll be allowed to hit the market and quite possibly coming off a down year on a bad Giants team with no OL. That said, he could come relatively cheap, particularly if he gives us a hometown discount. We can't afford to give him big money, but for the right price he'd be a great addition.
Scott Chandler, TE, Bills: We saw how much a viable 2nd receiving threat at TE could help with Shockey 2 years ago. Chandler is the perfect #2 to Greg Olsen and would give us a legitimate dual TE threat to go along with Nicks and Smith at WR.
Wade Smith, OG, Texans: We have to address the RG position. I'm not sure what Smith will fetch on the open market, but if it's a reasonable deal he'd be a good get to plug in until Kugbila is ready - assuming he ever is.
1st: Antonio Richardson, OT, Tennessee: I'm assuming here that we'll be picking anywhere from 17-25 range. I LOVE Mike Evans at WR, but odds are he'll go top-10. I think it's also doubtful either Lee or Watkins will fall to us and IIRC Lee has been injured anyway. That being the case, I opted for our LT of the future in Richardson. He's one of the most well-rounded OT's in this draft and the gap between him and the 'top' tackles isn't nearly what many seem to think. We can either play him at RT as a rookie with Gross at LT or switch them around. Whichever works best.
2nd: Brandon Coleman, WR, Rutgers:We signed Nicks, but Smitty is still getting old and LaFell left for FA in this scenario so we need to address WR early on. Brandon Coleman has had success at Rutgers producing in a run-first offense, which very much fits what we do on offense. If we can't land one of the top WR's in round 1, Coleman is a solid option in the 2nd.
3rd: Ty Zimmerman, S, Kansas State: Obviously safety is a need since we don't retain Mikell here. Zimmerman may not be there in round 3 - it's way too early to say - but he'd be a guy we could plug in day 1 and start as a rookie, IMO.
4th: Devin Street, WR, Pittsburgh: Boston can play both safety and corner and we have needs at both positions. The thinking here would be to try him at CB first, but also allow him to compete with Mitchell at safety.
5th: Prince Shembo, OLB, Notre Dame: Blackburn is gone in this scenario so we will need a new starter at strongside linebacker. A.J. Klein could be that guy, but it never hurts to bring in competition/depth.
6th: Bruce Gaston, DT, Purdue: With Dwan Edwards gone we'll need another DT to fill that spot in the rotation. Kawann Short will be starting here; why not draft his former teammate from Purdue to play alongside him in the rotation?
6th/7th (f/NYG): Aundrey Walker, OT/OG, USC: Late in the draft it never hurts to add some depth along either line. Walker has experience playing tackle and guard and could develop into a starter, but should be at least decent depth.
7th: Cody Riggs, CB/S, Florida: We'll still need depth at CB and we might as well take a flyer on one in the 7th since in this scenario I haven't taken one yet. Riggs can also play safety, which could theoretically save us a roster spot if he shows he can play both well enough.
Italics = Rookie
Underlined = FA Signing
QB: Cam Newton, Derek Anderson
RB: Jonathan Stewart, Kenjon Barner, Mike Tolbert
FB: Mike Tolbert, Richie Brockel
WR1: Hakeem Nicks
WR2: Steve Smith
WR3: Brandon Coleman/Ted Ginn
WR: Devin Street, Domenik Hixon
TE: Greg Olsen, Scott Chandler, Ben Hartsock, Brandon Williams
LT: Antonio Richardson, Nate Chandler
LG: Amini Silatolu, Aundrey Walker
C: Ryan Kalil, Jeff Byers
RG: Wade Smith, Edmund Kugbila
RT: Jordan Gross, Byron Bell
LE: Charles Johnson, Frank Alexander
NT: Star Lotulelei, Colin Cole
DT: Kawann Short, Bruce Gaston
RE: Greg Hardy, Wes Horton, Mario Addison
SLB: A.J. Klein, Prince Shembo
MLB: Luke Kuechly, Jason Williams
WLB: Thomas Davis, Jordan Senn
CB1: Josh Thomas
CB2: Melvin White
CBN: Captain Munnerlyn
CB: James Dockery, Ciante Evans
FS: Robert Lester
SS: Ty Zimmerman, Colin Jones
K: Graham Gano
P: Brad Nortman
LS: J.J. Jansen