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Jon Beason (52) has struggled with knee and shoulder injuries this season, and he has likely lost his MLB position to Luke Kuechly.
In order to execute a trade, you've got to have some trade bait.
The first thing the Carolina Panthers need to decide if they are going to pursue a trade before next week's deadline is which players they are willing to part with.
Unfortunately, to get a lot, sometimes you have to be willing to part with a lot.
Carolina is deepest at the running back and linebacker positions, and they have several up-and-comers at the defensive end position.
I am not predicting a fire sale or for the Panthers to trade away too many of their most valuable assets, but three of the biggest names on the Panthers' roster could be on the trading block if the front office decides to pursue a trade.
Of course, I never would have said this before Jerry Richardson fired his good friend and general manager earlier this week, but we are now at the beginning stages of a new era in Panthers history.
DeAngelo Williams, who earlier this season became just the second player in NFL history after Jim Brown to gain more than 5,000 rushing yards while maintaining a career average of 5.0 yards per carry, is definitely on the hot seat.
For the first time ever, when both of the Panthers' running backs were healthy, Jonathan Stewart got the start over Williams against the Dallas Cowboys in Week 7.
Williams was limited to four yards on just two carries against the Cowboys, and he has only picked up 177 yards on 50 carries so far this season.
This could be a case of Williams simply being misused, but with Jonathan Stewart signed up for the next four seasons beyond 2012, it could be time for "Double Trouble" to finally split up.
Jon Beason has been nicked up throughout the season with knee and shoulder injuries that have kept him out of the Panthers' past two games.
When healthy, Beason is still one of the best middle linebackers in the game, but he has missed 17 of Carolina's last 22 games after rupturing his Achilles in the first game of the season in 2011.
On top of that, rookie linebacker Luke Kuechly has played his best two games of the season since sliding over to MLB in Week 5, and Thomas Davis and James Anderson are both playing great at outside linebacker.
Carolina may be willing to part with some of its linebacker depth to upgrade at other positions, and Jon Beason is one of the most valuable players the Panthers have to offer other teams.
Though it is not likely any team will be willing to take over "Big Money's" gargantuan contract—the next four years of his contract count for $55 million against Carolina's salary cap—Johnson is the Panthers' best defensive lineman.
Despite all the money he is making, Johnson has under-produced as a pass rusher.
His best season came in 2010 when he recorded 11.5 sacks, and all 3.5 of his sacks so far in 2012 came in one game against the Atlanta Falcons.
Johnson is also unhappy about Marty Hurney's firing—he took to his Twitter account on Monday to express his displeasure—and perhaps he could benefit from a change of scenery.
However, of the three players listed here, Johnson is the least likely to get a new NFL address before next week.
Now, on to tackle the Panthers' biggest needs in the following slides.