The team technically has all 22 starters returning from last season but the future of defensive end Julius Peppers and cornerback Ken Lucas are in limbo. With $16.7 million tied up in their franchise tag offer to Peppers, the salary-cap limited Panthers have been quiet in the free agent market.
Because the Panthers are tight fit under the NFL salary cap, they have been restructuring contracts of a few players. Also, at some point, the team will look to bring in a veteran defensive lineman and a veteran offensive lineman for depth.
The Panthers unsuccessfully attempted to trade Lucas to the Detroit Lions but he vetoed the deal. They are likely to do the same at some point with Peppers. Lucas still could be traded but if there are no takers, look for the team to eventually release him to free up $2.37 million in salary cap space.
Although Carolina cannot technically trade Peppers unless he were to sign his franchise tender, his agent, Carl Carey, is working behind the scenes to find a potential trade partner that would appeal to his client and one that would be willing to satisfy the Panthers desires in terms of compensation.
If a deal cannot be struck, Peppers would presumably play or the Panthers in 2009, unless he holds out.
The New England Patriots are rumored to be a potential team for Peppers because they play a 3-4 defense that appeals to Peppers, are a winning franchise, and are well-coached. The Patriots have several draft picks at their disposal.
Quote of the Day:
If you really want to do something, you will find a way. If you don't, you will find an excuse.