Is all the interest the Panthers seem to be showing in Cam Newton just a smoke screen to get other teams to trade up? Could the Panthers really be very interested in taking Newton or do they covet another player that we don't expect right now? How do we really know?
I ran across an old article from Pat Kirwan from 2009 and he talks about some of the ways teams try to throw other teams off the scent of the player they really want. He also gives some examples of some things he did with while working with the Jets.
Are the Panthers interested in Cam Newton or are they just putting up a smoke screen to get other teams interested in the #1 pick??
Here's a link to the article.
He lists three main things teams do to put out false information.
1. Don't visit the guy you really want, visit a few players you have little interest in and send people speculating about your plans.
A number of players have told me they had a visit cancelled. Freeman told me his visit to the Jets was cancelled because they had all the information they needed on him. Does that mean they have lost interest in him or that they don't want to draw attention to him
Well, we can cross this one off the list. This one makes sense if you DON'T have the number one pick. You don't want someone else to know your interest if it's possible for that team to take the player you want before you pick. We don't have to worry about someone taking the player we want unless we DO trade out of the first spot. In that case all bets are off and the chaos begins.
2. Get a solid young veteran extended a day or two before the draft to end any interest in a player from the same position.
One year we extended running back Adrian Murrell about an hour before the draft when everyone believed we would be taking a running back at the top of the second round. Once we got Murrell signed to a four-year extension, our interest in another back went away. We were serious about taking a back and we let it be known in the media (which may have convinced Murrell to lock down a deal.
With no CBA in place this year we can't play this card. If we were having a hard time getting a deal done with Charles Johnson maybe we feign interest in Bowers to help convince CJ that we were serious about drafting a DE if we needed to. This year no such strategy exits.
3. Have the head coach go to a pro day or have a late private workout with a candidate.
This kind of news spreads like wildfire, and the natural conclusion is that there's real interest. The Broncos are hosting Sanchez this week, and now the speculation is that the Broncos are going to take him. They might fall in love with the USC quarterback, but they might just be gathering information about Sanchez for a future date or maybe they really like Freeman.
It's been reported that the Panthers were one of the teams that had dinner with Cam after his pro day. It's also been reported that they plan to bring him to Charlotte for more interviews. If they are selling that they want to take Newton then they are doing a good job. If another team really wants Newton they should be feeling very nervous about now.
There are more rumors and smokescreens about trades than there are about the draft itself. Do you think there's a player on the Cleveland Browns that hasn't thought he may wake up on draft day and be traded? Getting the willingness to trade out on the street will drive phone calls to the Browns this week, and that's good for business
Trades are another tool teams use on draft day to get a player they want. Start talking to teams about trading a player on your team and it makes teams think you may be drafting his replacement. Steve Smith to the Patriots? Let they A.J. Green rumors begin. No such luck this year unless you place more faith in the owners and NFLPA than I do.
Another smokescreen that has to be figured out is the veteran signing. Sure, the Saints signed safety Darren Sharper, but the length of the deal indicates they might take a defensive back like Malcolm Jenkins anyway.
The signing of Jeremy Shockey would have sent a message that we weren't looking for a TE in the draft. With the weak 2011 TE class and no second round pick, that probably wasn't a threat anyway.
This year is a unique year all around for the draft. With no free agency, no trades, and no clear cut number one pick the Panthers are playing their cards short handed. I think they end up playing this one straight. They figure out which player they like best and shove all in.