Darin Gantt was featured on the 'Primetime with the Packman' show on WFNZ in Charlotte. Pardon me if I don't quote verbatim (I was driving home from work).
Essentially Gantt was saying that outside of Julius Peppers it's highly unlikely the Panthers resign any players this off season. No new deal for Thomas Davis, no new deal for Richard Marshall, no new deal for Matt Moore... basically we could see some free agent movement, but not much other noise from the Panthers.
I'll explain more, after the jump.According to Gantt (I haven't been able to find another source) an internal corporate document was leaked telling player representatives and the player's union that the owners wanted to cut the salary cap by 20% league wide before a new CBA could be established.
Essentially owners feel that they were overly lenient in the last two CBAs and it allowed player salaries to become vastly overblown. This proves to be the biggest sticking point in the negotiations, and what could ultimately lead to a lockout in 2011.
What this means, essentially, is that teams would have anywhere from $20 to $30 million less to spend on players, should the owners get their way. This is why it isn't prudent to sign Thomas Davis or Richard Marshall at the moment. It could also potentially make negotiations with Julius Peppers difficult.
If the team were to commit big money to any, or all of these players in 2010 only to have the owners 'win' then a major portion of their salary cap would be spent on a few players. Think how cash strapped the Panthers were in 2009 with Peppers' franchise tag, then multiply that by three... that's what is at risk should the Panthers tip their hand now and pony up new deals to any or all of these players.
With the additional two year increase in when players can become free agents we essentially have Thomas Davis locked up through the 2011 season, so Gantt's reasoning is 'why have them sign too early'. This could actually play into the Panthers' hands as it allows them to get a good look at Thomas Davis to ensure he's back 100% from his injury, rather than having to franchise or work out a deal sight unseen.