Carolina Panthers- free agent frenzy: heating up around the league

By Cindy Davis //@XO_CindyDavis

On Friday, it was announced that the Carolina Panthers are trading cornerback Daryl Worley to Philadelphia, in exchange for wide receiver, Torrey Smith. Many fans are understandably already skeptical of this latest transaction from now official general manager, Marty Hurney.

While it is undeniable that the Panthers need to get quarterback Cam Newton some offensive weapons, it is unclear that Torrey Smith was the best option, or is going to be able to fill the shoes of WR1. It is yet to be seen what other free agent wide receivers will be getting paid around the league, but Smith comes with a $5 million price tag for the next two years, while Darryl Worley would have cost $650,000 in 2018. For many fans, that is a tough pill to swallow.

By trading their 2016 third round corner pick to Philadelphia, the Panthers have created yet another need for the team. The Panthers are already faced with definite needs at safety, running back and now at cornerback.  The Panthers may soon have holes to fill at guard, defensive tackle and offensive lineman. Many fans are also not convinced that they should not draft another wide receiver to give Russell Shepherd some friendly competition after his underwhelming 2017 season.

Smith’s 2017 stats according to ESPN, seem to leave much to be desired by many Panther fans. He ended his regular and postseason in 2017 with a total of 587 yards and 3 touchdowns. These stats could be misleading and a product of the fact that Philadelphia was extremely stacked at both WR and tight end during 2017. While his stats leave many fans scratching their heads, Smith comes to the Panthers as a two time Super Bowl winning veteran, which could be just what this team needs in the locker room.  

Another idea being thrown around for the Panthers at the cornerback position was Richard Sherman. This short-lived dream has since come to a halt as he has now officially signed with the San Francisco 49ers. This signing leaves one name of interest in particular for Panthers fan at corner: Josh Norman. It was devastating for many fans when he was abruptly and unexpectedly released after being franchised tagged in 2016 by Dave Gettleman. 

As of recently, there have been plenty of rumors about the Redskins possibly moving on from Norman to save $8 million in cap space after their big signing of quarterback Alex Smith. It has also been reported that Norman has been frustrated with the Redskins’ front office and may want to move on himself. The defense was arguably better and was elite when Norman was on the team. He is a shutdown corner that played his heart out and brought a fire to the defense that has yet to be seen since his departure. It is unknown whether this is even a realistic option at this point, but a fan can dream.

This is of course just the (unofficial) start of free agency and all of the surprising signings and releases that are to come. It is easy to be skeptical when the Panthers have made several key releases and only one questionable-at-best free agency signing thus far. It should be reassuring that it is still very early on and there will be more information and official reports released in the coming days.

We also cannot overlook that the draft is still more than a month away. It is not always our best quality, but Panther fans should try to have a little bit of patience and trust the process, as frustrating as it can be. One thing is for certain for the future of our team at this point: only time will tell.


Talk Panthers with Cindy on Twitter @XO_CindyDavis

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