Panthers GM Marty Hurney doesn’t appear too interested in Darius:
"We are not taking the attitude right now that, ‘Oh, we’ve got to go out and find a safety,’" Hurney said. "We’re always looking at anybody who’s a free agent, but we felt the young guys did very well at the mini-camp and the June workouts. We like Nate Salley, and we like some of our other young players. We came away encouraged by what we saw, so we’re not looking at the safety situation like we have to do something right now."
Sounds like pure contract negotiating posturing to me. Ever since the Sean Gilbert trade, the Panthers have approached free-agents coming off injuries cautiously. They are not about to overpay for Darius. At the same time, I don’t think they should wait too long. Give him a physical now!
John Delong also thinks the Panthers will tread lightly:
The hunch is that the Panthers won’t pursue Darius aggressively, with the injury questions and what could be a hefty price tag to boot. But one has to think that sooner or later, someone else will come available that makes sense, and could provide either an upgrade or an insurance policy for Salley. After all, it is still a long time until Sept. 9.
As much as I would like to think Salley will be a serviceable starter, we have to remember the Panthers cut him after training camp last year. To go from the practice squad to starter in one year is a bit of a stretch. The Panthers need a starter at SS. Waiting until Sept 9th to determine if you have one would be risky at best.
Panthers Sign Punter Baker to 5 yr Deal
He’s one of the best in the league. It’s a no-brainer. Kudos to Hurney for getting this contract done.
He had his best season in 2006, averaging 45.7 yards per punt, with a net of 39.0. Both numbers were third-best in the NFL. He also kicks off and is a holder on field goals and extra points.
Carolina has been a perfect fit for Baker, he said, both with the team’s front-office personnel and his teammates.
"I have 50 best friends in that locker room," he said.
You have to love the team chemistry that’s seems to be emanating from Carolina these days.