This edition of Paw Prints leads off with an NFL.com piece that digs into the Julius Peppers signing and potential long term deal that might be brewing.
NFL.com Blogs " Blog Archive Julius Peppers and franchise-tag economics "
Carolina GM Marty Hurney told the team’s website on Wednesday that the Panthers would not rule out putting the franchise tag on Peppers again in 2010 if need be, which, as we went over, would amount to a possible $40 million commitment over two years. When you look at it from the perspective of which way you want that $40 million sliced up, it would behoove the team from a cap standpoint to have it come from a long-term deal. And for Peppers, obviously, in a sport as violent as this, you’d rather have the $40 million guaranteed in the present rather than play for $17 million this season and risk getting hurt badly and never getting that second franchise-tag payday.
It's hard to fathom they would franchise him yet again but they seem pretty determined. Earlier in this post another interesting tidbit is a rumor the Panthers are close to signing DE Everette Brown. Usually the Panthers ink the lower rounds picks first before solidifying the big dollar ones. I imagine the lack of cap room is driving the priorities.
Inside the Panthers: Delhomme, Beason: Welcome back, Julius
"Not surprised at all about Julius," quarterback Jake Delhomme said by text message about the news that Peppers had signed a one-year tender with the team on Wednesday. "All of us will be elated he will be present on the first day of camp." Linebacker Jon Beason writes on his blog that he feels the same way: "We’re glad to have JP back and I think he’s happy, too. In some ways that’s the way I expected the procedure to unfold.
It seems us fans are not the only ones happy Pep has finally singed to play in 2009. The fact Delhomme and Beason are the first two players to respond should not be lost on you. These are the self-appointed leaders of this team and its a role that doesn't stop when the season is over. It's very safe to say the defense leader mantle has sucessfully transferred from Mike Minter to Jon Beason.
Team Reports | NFL at CBSSports.com
The Panthers are moving Sherrod Martin, a safety at Troy, to cornerback and so far the transition seems to be going well. Coaches have been impressed with Martin's athleticism. He's viewed as the team's potential nickel back. "I think I'm adapting pretty good," Martin said. "I can always get better. Right now I have to focus on the little things at cornerback. Right now it's fundamentals and techniques for me to help me on down the line. I have to be like a detective out there -- every little thing counts."
So is Martin slated for the nickel spot or not? The previous rumor had Marshall moving inside to the nickel in these situations which seems a little unorthodox. I imagine they would prefer him to earn the nickel spot rather than just being a special-teamer in '09. This is definitely one of the position battles to watch.
Team Reports | NFL at CBSSports.com
OFFSEASON STANDOUT TE Gary Barnidge was a standout during OTAs with backup TE Dante Rosario nursing a back injury. Jeff King is still the starting tight end in Carolina because of his versatility as a run-blocker and a receiver. However, the Panthers believe Barnidge is a guy who can help stretch the middle of the field.
Seems I heard this somewhere else but its worth mentioning given the need for another play-maker in the passing game. Last years rookie class is looking like one of the better ones in Panther history. All 9 players are not only still on the roster but might all receive playing time in 2009.
Scott Says ...: A Double Trouble prediction
Stewart also said Tuesday that he believed he and Williams could be even better this season. "I don’t see why we should lower our expectations from last year," Stewart said. "I think me and DeAngelo are capable of more."
Topping 30 TD's total seems unlikely given the schedule but we might be on the cusp on witnessing the most lethal Panther rushing attack in
team NFL history. We have the o-line and RBs to get it done.
Carolina waives former Hillcrest star | TuscaloosaNews.com | The Tuscaloosa News | Tuscaloosa, AL
Markus Manson, a former Hillcrest High School running back, was waived by the Carolina Panthers on Wednesday. The 6-foot, 209-pound Manson signed as an undrafted free agent out of Valdosta (Ga.) State on May 2, according to a report on the NFL team's Web site.
If only I had waited a few days I wouldn't have spent so much time trying to dig up info on Manson for my RB Depth Chart Review. Oh well, good luck to you Manson. The team also waived CB Reggie Sullivan to make room for the Munnerlyn signing.
NFL Picks: 2009 Carolina Panthers Predictions
My Prediction: 1st NFC South (11-5) The schedule is definitely not in the favor of the Panthers this season, as the only team they face in 2009 that didn’t finish above .500 is Buffalo. I still think with a solid a defense and an outstanding rushing attack, the Panthers will repeat in the NFC South, but l think they slip up on the road in the 2nd round or even the NFC Championship game.
Okay, I was really liking this guy until the very last part. Anyone else think playing on the road in the playoffs might be a blessing in disguise?