Chris Graythen/Getty Images
Will DeAngelo Williams return in 2013?
As mentioned in the previous slide, Carolina needs to trim some salary in order to get under the cap. The Panthers have started this process by renegotiating the contract of running back Jonathan Stewart.
While it was thought to be a move that would see the departure of fellow back DeAngelo Williams, according to Joseph Person of the Charlotte Observer, the Panthers plan to retain him for the new season.
That still leaves the contracts of both Chris Gamble and Jon Beason. Both ended up on injured reserve last year, and both may be let go. Beason looks to remain in place, while Gamble seems to be primed for release.
Losing just one of these guys will be difficult, but both would be very bad for Carolina. The team will need to find a way to plug those vacancies.
The Panthers may try to re-sign Captain Munnerlyn and have him replace Gamble with Josh Norman taking over at the second cornerback spot. However, such a move could hurt defensively, though the Panthers did play well toward the end of the season with those two starting in the secondary.
Another key player who had his contract restructured was center Ryan Kalil. His new deal will pay him $750,000 in 2013. Carolina may want to cut a similar deal with offensive tackle Jordan Gross since he is set to make $8.7 million (per Spotrac) next season.
The Panthers have a lot of difficult decisions to make, and the last thing they want to do is gut the roster and start over. The talent is there, and if one or two key players can be replaced with younger, cheaper talent, then they may be alright. However, with their "win now" philosophy, the front office will explore all options before making any final decisions.