MIKE MCCARN/Associated Press
Domenik Hixon proved to be clutch in Week 16. Will it be enough to bring him back for another year?
Derek Anderson, QB
Derek Anderson has been with the Carolina Panthers since 2011. He has accepted his role as a backup and mentor to Cam Newton. Last year, he was a free agent and returned on a one-year deal. Considering the league's attitude towards young quarterbacks, it seems unlikely Anderson would find work as a starter anywhere else.
In fact, his experience and familiarity with the offense is reason enough for him to remain with the Panthers. He hasn't taken too many snaps in a real game since Newton went down temporarily with an injury in the 2012 season finale at New Orleans.
Expect him back on another one-year deal.
Ben Hartsock, TE
Regarded as a blocking tight end, Hartsock hasn't had much of a role with the Carolina offense. He will probably be signed to a one-year deal and may have to compete for a spot on the roster during training camp.
Bruce Campbell, RT
This could go either way. On one hand, the Panthers don't want to become short-handed at offensive tackle if Gross does retire. On the other, Campbell hasn't been nearly as effective as the team would like him to be. If Gross returns, Campbell will probably be released.
Jimmy Clausen, QB
Clausen was released before the start of last season and then placed on the team's injured reserve after not being claimed off waivers. It is very doubtful he will return as the former second-round pick from the 2010 draft never panned out in the league.
Colin Cole, DT
Another one-year player the Panthers signed to add depth at defensive tackle. Cole only appeared in nine games, recording 17 tackles and intercepting a pass. With the team having a pick in every round this year, they may just release him and replace him with a rookie via the draft or sign one as an undrafted free agent.
Dan Connor, MLB
Connor was brought back to help add experience and give Carolina another decent linebacker to backup Luke Kuechly. It would be nice to see Connor remain with the team, but he really isn't a necessity to have around unless the Panthers need depth at middle linebacker.
Drayton Florence, CB
Florence had the game-winning interception against San Francisco in Week 10. He has played well in Carolina this season and should be brought back if a long term deal with Captain Munnerlyn isn't reached. Even if Munnerlyn does return for the 2014 season, Florence would be a great cornerback to rotate in and out of the secondary.
Geoff Hangartner, OG
Hangartner came back to the Panthers last November. While his deal was on a one-year basis, he seems likely to return as he has a rapport with the line and could bring an additional veteran presence to a line that could be losing some leadership (if Gross retires).
Domenik Hixon, WR
He didn't get many opportunities on the field this season, but Hixon came up huge in Carolina's Week 16 victory over New Orleans. Carolina could re-sign him to a one-year deal, but it is very possible they allow him to walk and pursue younger receivers through the draft.
Eric Norwood, OLB
He had nothing to do with the team this season or any season since being taken by the Panthers in the 2010 draft. Norwood should be given his outright release or signed to the practice squad.
Jordan Senn, OLB
More renowned for his leadership on special teams, Senn should return to Carolina on a team-friendly, long-term deal. He only had seven tackles in 14 games this past season, but he is a positive role model to the young players on the team and is a positive influence on the locker room.
Jason Williams, OLB
He appeared in only 11 games and tallied just four tackles. He could be brought back on a one-year deal or be given the opportunity to find work somewhere else. Williams' future in Carolina could depend on the Panthers' draft strategy and whether or not they bring in another linebacker.