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Icege

Five Panthers' players with pressure to perform in 2019

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Alliteration is fun!

Every season, all 53 players on an NFL team goes out with something to prove. Some are looking to get a big contract extension while others are just looking to add to their portfolio so that they have a chance at finding a job next season with whatever team will bring them on board. Below are five Panthers' players that have plenty of eyes on them as this season holds a lot of weight in where their future heads, starting with the obvious:

 

1. Cam Newton
oh yeah yes GIF by Gatorade
As Cam goes, so does the Panthers' offense. This has been the case since 2011 when Cam came in as a rookie sensation, lighting up the league until eventually earning himself league MVP honours a few seasons later. Reviled by much of the media but respected by his peers, Cam has kept a stiff upper lip through all of the dings and dents he has suffered over his career. A stiff upper lip could not hide a lack of velocity and distance on his throws though, as the Cam Newton we had come to know and love did everything he could to try and will himself through physical limitations as he had in seasons prior. Comparisons to Andrew Luck was made, questions about whether or not Cam would heal began to pop up on the airwaves, and Will Grier was drafted which itself led to even more gossiping. The Panthers have made it clear though, this is Cam's team. Will Grier is expected to have an opportunity to spend at least this season developing, with the floor of being able to lead the team to victory should he have to take over for Cam if he isn't available. The 2020-2021 season is also the last one under Cam's current deal, and he is owed $21M. If his shoulder has not recovered or he is suffering from other maladies, the Panthers could free up a little over $19M in cap space by cutting him. However, if Cam bounces back and proves the talking heads that have criticized his style of play for absorbing the punishment that he has, the team is going to be in a great position. They'll have their MVP QB and a quality QB2 that can potentially build some trade value. Reports so far have been good, and now many are waiting for Cam to get cleared to throw which is apparently something that could happen any day now.

Prediction: Cam returns a savvier, more trusting QB now that he has his strength back and adequate pieces around him on offense to succeed. Grier develops nicely as a QB2, and is dealt for a 6th round pick in the final year of his contract after Cam signs an extension that keeps him a Panther until he's 36.
 

2. Daryl Williams
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The fanbase is split into two different camps when it comes to Daryl Williams: he's either a second-team All Pro right tackle with a concerning injury history or an overrated lineman that has been babysat by tight ends. Both camps can agree on one thing though: being able to keep DWill who at the very least is a starting calibre RT for only $5.3M is an absolute steal. The question from here however is, where does he play this year in terms of position and where does he play next year in terms of team? Taylor Moton looked great at RT, and the Panthers just spent significant draft capital on Greg Little. Some folks are slotting him as a LG based on recent comments by Marty Hurney while others are predicting that he'll start at RT due to both his specifying that he is an RT as well as Moton originally being last season's starting LG before DWill re-aggravated his knee injury. Regardless of where on the line, in the NFL) he will play this/next season, Williams needs to put together a year of healthy, quality tape. The latter might not be as big of an issue as the former.

Prediction: Williams starts at RT where he puts together a solid season that guarantees him a decent contract for next season when he leaves to replace Mike Remmers once again, only this time for the New York Giants.
 

3. Shaq Thompson
Image result for Shaq Thompson
Shaq Thompson is another player that the fanbase remains divided on. One half views him as a solid WLB that has the athleticism and versatility to play various roles on the defense, whether that be in a 4-3, 3-4, as a pass rusher, in coverage, or wherever he is needed. The other half views him as a wasted luxury pick that has never lived up to his 1st round draft selection nor was ever really necessary due to having TD. Like Daryl Williams, both sides can agree on one thing: $9M for Shaq Thompson this season seems like an extremely steep price. Shaq has a lot of pressure on him to prove that he deserves to be that 2nd LB that stays on the field with Luke, and he has the toolkit to do so. He is much better in coverage than the casual fan would have you believe, and he has been a force in run support. Should he show that he is capable of fitting in on the field regardless of the defensive front or the formation, then $9M might end up being what we can be expecting to pay him.

Prediction: Shaq puts together another solid season where he is criminally undervalued by the fanbase and signs a fair extension that is much higher than folks anticipate. He'll become the Huddle's favorite whooping boy on the defense once Vernon Butler has departed, unless we sign another geriatric safety.


4. Vernon Butler
Image result for trash can
Vernon Butler has been the worst 1st round pick of the Gettleman era and was taken in the worst draft of potentially the worst offseason of said era. While originally brought on board to be insurance should KK leave in free agency, Butler has done nothing since KK resigned his contract. His first two seasons he saw limited production on limited snaps, but had a couple of flashes. Last season, a season in which he more than had the opportunity to go out there and prove his worth, he instead saw himself being benched and not even activated on some game days. Looking at his stat sheet gives plenty to be upset about, but watching him on film leaves you wondering how he hasn't put it together yet. He is often asked to eat up double teams, and has done a good job of creating pressure whether it be by pushing his own man back or helping a fellow lineman free up. He's also been walked out of run lanes as well, which is a huge concern. The team has clearly seen what they feel is enough and has opted to not use the bonus 5th year option on Butler's rookie contract. There's a chance he might not even make the team should they go out and sign addition DL help.

Prediction: Butler puts together his first competent season as a back-up and is allowed to walk in free agency. He eventually signs with either BUF or NYG for dirt cheap and somehow figures out how to be an NFL player because that would be the only thing that would make the 2016 draft an even bigger kick in the dick.
 

5. James Bradberry
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The diamond of the 2016 offseason, and perhaps the only good decision that was made during that entire offseason. James Bradberry has been nothing but solid and consistent since coming into the league. He has matched up very well with the physical WRs and every year has shown continued growth + development. He has locked up Julio Jones and Mike Evans, and I like putting him on Michael Thomas twice a season as well. The replacement for Josh Norman has lived up to the expectations placed on him, including being a willing tackler in run support. James Bradberry is positioned to place himself in a possible bidding war to be the #1 CB in Carolina or for another team that is in desperate need of help covering receivers.

Prediction: James Bradberry once again shuts down the elite of the NFL while upper-mid tier speedsters get the best of him on occasion. He gets paid as an incredibly average CB1 despite performing like a top 10 CB1, while some of the fanbase groans that we need a CB in the 1st round of next season's draft because Bradberry is too suspect and DJax is too small.

 

Who are your five Panthers under pressure to perform this season?

Edited by Icege
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In a QB desperate league, if Grier shows well in a couple preseasons he’d easily fetch a day 2 pick

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All those guys who in contract year are the obvious and same can be said about Cam

 

Ill throw 2 more 

 

Greg Olsen- he hasnt been able to stay healthy.  And with his age, if he once again goes down.  He could be on the chopping block next offseason

 

Matt Paradis- our big FA signee.  Not only is he coming in right after a all-time panther great retires.  He also was our top FA signee, and expected to come in and turn this terrible OL around.  Oh, and he's doing this coming off a foot injury (which those injuries arent always so good to big OL.  Heck look at Olsen the last few years jist at TE)

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Prediction: Butler puts together his first competent season

 

nah, fam

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I have a hard time taking any poster seriously , that repeats huddle rumors as if they are fact. 

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20 minutes ago, ncfan said:

Greg Olsen- he hasnt been able to stay healthy.  And with his age, if he once again goes down.  He could be on the chopping block next offseason

Olsen's getting cut next offseason anyway, or at the very, very least restructured.  He's going to cost us nearly 12 million against the 2020 cap on his current deal, after his very affordable 6.5 million this year.  Or maybe he just retires.  

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Pressure to me means resource allocation. It also means having realistic, non-Madden, expectations of the rookies. Thus:

Cam - going to make or break the season.

KK - 3 sacks but being paid for 10+. Guy completely disappeared. Maybe due to Star and his ability to demand a double team. Still if he plays his contract out like he played last year we got hosed.

DJ - The #1 WR picked in the 2018 draft has to put in the work and come out with a bang. He is the future of the WRs and has to get some rapport going with Cam and step up to be more dominant, that hopefully comes with the confidence of not being a rookie anymore.

Paradis - The Panthers paid him a nice chunk of change and he will be the mold of a new Oline with a rookie in the most important spot.

Gano - One of the highest paid kickers and year after year he finds a way to let the fans down when it matters. We kept him instead of Butker. I’m pretty sure has some dirt on someone because I’m not sure why he’s still here.

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Pretty good piece, OP. 

Cam has, without a doubt, the most pressure on him, followed by Shaq. I think Paradis has a lot to prove, too and can Greg Olsen survive another year in the league?

The fifth Panther with the most pressure riding on him, I believe, is Ron Rivera. I like Ron and I think he's the kind of coach a team should keep for a decade or more. He doesn't have losing seasons with a healthy squad (and that is a huge deal) and he has had his coaching staff raided heavily and continuously for a few years. That turnover in assistant coaches and coordinators is tough on any team, and we saw that it ended up with a DC promotion that was not warranted and disastrous. A losing season here, though, with new ownership in the building could see RR heading off with a pink slip, and I don't think injuries will matter, unless it is an obvious and inescapable injury to Cam.

 

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5 minutes ago, BrianS said:

Olsen's getting cut next offseason anyway, or at the very, very least restructured.  He's going to cost us nearly 12 million against the 2020 cap on his current deal, after his very affordable 6.5 million this year.  Or maybe he just retires.  

And why the team is all of a sudden throwing mud at the wall to see if it will stick.  We almost never have this many TEs in camp.  Quantity does not mean quality.  If it is indeed Olsen's last year, I'm sure glad the team put all it's eggs in the Ian Thomas basket. 

Note: I've been a big proponent about acquiring a 1A TE ever since Jeremy Shockey left.  Like safety, the top reserve TE is relegated to camp fodder every year.  Dickson was never going to be that guy either.

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52 minutes ago, mjligon said:

Prediction: Butler puts together his first competent season

 

nah, fam

Lemme live in my world of make believe

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37 minutes ago, pantherclaw said:

I have a hard time taking any poster seriously

fify

Edited by Icege

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21 minutes ago, Khyber53 said:

Pretty good piece, OP. 

Cam has, without a doubt, the most pressure on him, followed by Shaq. I think Paradis has a lot to prove, too and can Greg Olsen survive another year in the league?

The fifth Panther with the most pressure riding on him, I believe, is Ron Rivera. I like Ron and I think he's the kind of coach a team should keep for a decade or more. He doesn't have losing seasons with a healthy squad (and that is a huge deal) and he has had his coaching staff raided heavily and continuously for a few years. That turnover in assistant coaches and coordinators is tough on any team, and we saw that it ended up with a DC promotion that was not warranted and disastrous. A losing season here, though, with new ownership in the building could see RR heading off with a pink slip, and I don't think injuries will matter, unless it is an obvious and inescapable injury to Cam.

 

This is a very interesting take that I admittedly did not realize. Ron is signed through the 2020, and he has already turned in one losing season to the new ownership group.Marty I do not feel is quite there yet, as he seems to have done a decent enough job keeping the team together while adding on to it.

I also wonder if Tepper sees Hurney-Rivera-Newton as a trio, and that should they lose Newton, Rivera + Hurney will not be far behind. They've hitched their careers to his, and to be honest that's a pretty good bet for them all things considered.

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3 minutes ago, top dawg said:

Cam and Williams have already leapt.

Here is the Riot Reports':

D.J. Moore

Curtis Samuel

Shaq Thompson

James Bradberry

Bryan Cox Jr.

https://theriotreport.com/five-panthers-who-need-to-make-the-leap-in-2019/

Not looking for them to make the next step as much as there is pressure to perform to answer various questions surrounding them (hence the inclusion of Cam + DWill)

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