I just finished enjoying the 40 minute podcaste NFL Today for 7/14, on ESPN with Matt Williamson, former NFL scout breaking down the free agent WRs and TEs that will be on the market this season. The real free agent discussions began around the 25 minute mark and last until the 36, with some funny and interesting Panther related comment 36-38 minute marks following. Matt Williamson does serve as the second mic to Ross Tucker the former o-lineman for most shows.They voice the coach and player side of the football respectively but for the this podcast it was Matt, Jay The sherpa(producer) for the most part.
Williamson indicated that Malcolm Floyd, a 6’5 225lb receiver, a down field threat that knows how to use his body, may end up in Carolina do to the San Diego connection, but that his is a numbers may fall outside of the Chargers. He is a big target that benefits from the system it appears.
More interestingly the two big offensive free agent gems on the market WR Sidney Rice,6’4 202lb, and TE Zach Miller 6’5 255 he saw as looking very good in Carolina. He said that both the Vikings and Raidersrespectively would try to do what they could to keep their much desired Free Agents but at least with the Raiders, who have cap issues, it could be a problem.
A knock on Rice is that he is injury prone, hard to argue against that. Williamson has some interesting thoughts on Rice.Essentially... considering that some people believe Brett Farve made Rice the commodity that he is in the 2008 season that Farve had such success passing in, Williamson is of the belief that sounds so eerily familiar to Panther fans. That is to say Rice is the one who made Farve the passer that he was that season for the reason that when Farve would just through up for grabs, when he got in trouble or a bind, and hope Rice would come down with it.
You have to love a big fast target for a rookie quarterback which is also why Williamson believes that Zack Miller would be a perfect fit in Carolina. Willamson likes in Carolina do to the incomeing offencive scheme. I see him as is a young TE that will be around 6-8 more years to come that both blocks and receives with great skill. If I could have one free agent it would Zack Smith as good tightends do not grow on trees and great ones are even harder to find. Unfortunately for Carolina we have three division opponents that have been well to do at the position.
Yes we have Jeremy Shockeywho is only 30 years old and may well stick around. The vet has been a tough bruiser of a man with personality to match but that has caused him to miss on average the last 4 years 3 games per season as well as never having played a full season in his career. It feels to me that Shockey is not the type of player that needs the NFL to define him, and he could decided at any time to seek his fun elsewhere. Eitherway I do not see him sticking around with Carolina, as much as I would love it, unless he falls in love the with the TE friendly system. Even so that would be 3-5 seasons with the unknown injury factor increasing with age meaning that having another reliable TE a must.
If we did get Zack Miller that could actually extend the career and improve the performance of Shockey (Not mention Miller himself of course.) given that his not the only primary target at TE. It would be a major coup to get Two All Pro Players at TE in a system that loves the TE.
With Rice I think that even if we did not trade Smith it would be a wise move. We have a great amount of unproven talent at WR and Smith needs a large man beast that will demand as much respect as Smitty himself. Of the four young receivers I like the promise Lafell and Gettis showed last year. Armanti Edwardswill have to prove a lot this season as he battles with Kealoha Pilaras to determine who will be beneath Lefell and Gettis in any situation this year.
Back to the podast... Between the 36-and 38 minute mark we were hear Craig The Intern saying the he just loves the fact he is hearing something about good players coming to Carolina cause Panther fans are not accustom to that. I thought it was funny but it did lead to Matt Williamson saying that if the panthers trade Smith and resign Johnson with the money they do have to spend they could have much different roster in 3-4 weeks.
It is scary to think it but as PanthersRoar has laid out the major Free agents…. http://www.catscratchreader.com/2011/7/17/2280404/2011-is-a-critical-rebuilding-year-for-panthers
as well as Kris Myatt post http://www.catscratchreader.com/2011/7/17/2279983/why-we-may-be-in-a-better-position-with-free-agents-than-anyone really shows the room the panthers have in the spending and possiblity of getting more talant.
The upcoming season could see the return JR opening up the reserves to build the team of the next decade. As it is the Panthers are one of the teams with the deepest pockets this year and JR is a passionate man about the team he has on the field. I do not see him getting away from the building in the draft philosophy he has grown into but he has opened a door that will enable him to keep with his beliefs as well as snatch up some big commodities that have been drifting tantalizingly around so many GMs, coaches, and fans minds.
Offencively who would you love to see, if you could have only one free agent, come to Carolina?