This is the continuing story of how the Panthers' position in the Free Agent market stacks up to all the other teams in the League. It's very important to know who will be shopping and who will be praying. Previously we looked at the NFC South. Within that story are further links to details about the CBA and each Team's cap position. If you want to refer back, click here. From there we moved to the AFC West. - then double-dipped on the AFC and NFC East. Today we explore the AFC South and NFC north.
Team by Team Analysis (by division)
Houston - $1.6 under cap, $11.6 OVER floor
# 2011 FAs - 17 total, 13 with 4+ years
Top FAs 2011: QB Leinart; RB Vonta Leach (Probe Owler); WR Jacoby Jones; TE Owen Daniels; OT Rashad Butler; OGs Kasey Studdard, Mike Brisiel; DT Deljuan Robinson; OLB Zac Diles; Safety Bernard Pollard; P Turk
Top FAs 2012: QB Orlovsky; RBs Arian Foster (Probe Owler), Steve Slayton; WRs David Anderson, Andre Davis; TE Joel Dreesen; C Chris Myers; DE Mario Williams; DTs Shaun Cody; Frank Okam; OLB Xavier Adibi; Safeties Eugene Wilson, Dominique Barber; K Rackers
Draft Picks: Brandon Harris DB, Rashad Carmichael DB, Brooks Reed DE, Cheta Ozougwu DE, J.J. Watt DE, Derek Newton OT, T.J. Yates QB, Shiloh Keo S
My free agency forecast for the Texans: On the Rocks - How can you spend what you don't have? The Texans have a lot of stars and a great offense, and some think they'll transition smoothly to the 3-4 defense because that's what Wade Phillips does. Super Mario is dropping weight to play linebacker, after finally realizing his potential at DE; and, he's in his contract year. Oh, btw, so is Arian Foster. I thought they'd make a play for Aso, but now I think it would be a mistake in terms of the cap situation.
Indianapolis - $4.5 under cap, $8.7 OVER floor
# 2011 FAs - 14 total, 8 with 4+ years
Top FAs 2011: QB Manning (Franchised; Probe Owler); RB Addai; OTs Charlie Johnson, Adam Terry; OGs Tony Ugoh, Kyle DeVan; DTs Antonio Johnson, Eric Foster, Daniel Muir, Keyunta Dawson; OLB Clint Session; Safety Melvin Bullitt; K Vinatieri
Top FAs 2012: WRs Wayne (Probe Owler), Garcon, Gonzalez; TE Jacob Tamme, Gijon Robinson; OT Ryan Diem; OGs Mike Pollak, Jamey Richard; C Saturday (Probe Owler); DE Robert Mathis (Probe Owler); OLB Philip Wheeler; CB Jacob Lacey; P McAfee
Draft Picks: Chris L. Rucker DB, Drake Nevis DT, Anthony Castonzo OT, Benjamin Ijalana OT, Delone Carter RB
My free agency forecast for the Coltz: Old Boat with a lot of leaks - Not a lot of room to sign Peyton (though I'm sure they'll structure a deal to make it happen, but those deals can catch up with you later). Also, rumor has it that Mathis wants to get paid, and he deserves it. I like the young OTs they drafted, but they have to sign them as well (5 draft picks total). Peyton's pain in the neck may spread to the rest of the team. Maybe not this year, but the door's closing. I don't see them as Free Agent spenders.
Jacksonville - $41.9 under cap, $28.7 under floor
# 2011 FAs - 12 total, 5 with 4+ years
Top FAs 2011: QB Luke McCown; WRs Mike Sims-Walker, Kassim Osgood; TE Marcedes Lewis (Franchised. Probe Owler); DT Atiyyah Ellison; OLBs Justin Durant; Freddie Keiaho; MLB Kirk Morrison; CB David Jones; Safety Sean Considine; P Podlesh
Top FAs 2012: OG Vince Manuwai; DT Atiyyah Ellison; CB Rashean Mathis; K Scobee
Draft Picks: Roderick Issac DB, William Rackley OG, Blaine Gabbert QB, Christopher Prosinski S, Cecil Shorts WR
My free agency forecast for the Jagz: Calm Seas - Cannons Loaded and closing in on the Colts. The Jagz are in excellent shape as far as the cap and their own FAs, and I like their 6 draft picks (especially Rackley). I can see them trying to lure a top WR, and really just looking to upgrade anywhere and everywhere. This team could be so good, if only they had fans to fill a stadium. I wonder if L.A. has more people (hmmm).
Tennessee - $12.6 under cap, $0.6 OVER floor
# 2011 FAs - 15 total, 13 with 4+ years
Top FAs 2011: QBs Kerry Collins (Retired), Chris Simms (has no spleen); RB Ahmard Hall; TE Bo Scaife; OT Mike Otto; OG Leroy Harris; DEs Jacob Ford, Dave Ball; OLB David Thornton; MLB Stephen Tulloch; CB Rod Hood; Safety Donnie Nickey;
Top FAs 2012: QB Vince Young (likely to be released), WRs Justin Gage, Lavelle Hawkins; TE Craig Stevens; OG Jake Scott; DE William Hayes; DT Jason Jones; OLB Stanford Keglar; CB Cortland Finnegan; Safeties Michael Griffin (Probe Owler), Chris Hope, Vincent Fuller
Draft Picks: Karl Klug DE, Jurrell Casey DT, Zach Clayton DT, Colin McCarthy ILB, Akeem Ayers OLB, Byron Stingily OT, Jake Locker QB (Top 10 Pick), Jamie Harper RB, Tommie Campbell S
My free agency forecast for the Titans: Davey Jones Locker - I mean really, Jake Locker?? I hate to beat a dead Titan, but CJ2K will have to run his ass off for this team to do anything (oh, and btw, he wants and deserves more money, too). So, 9 picks to sign, not much money (though they'll save some by releasing Young) -- definitely a rebuilding year, but not much through Free Agency.
Chicago - $15.1 under cap, $1.9 under floor
# 2011 FAs - 14 total, 11 with 4+ years
Top FAs 2011: QB Caleb Hanie; RBs Garrett Wolfe, Kahlil Bell; WRs Devin Aromashodu, Rashied Davis; TE Des Clark; C Olin Kreutz; DT Anthony Adams; OLBs Pisa Tinoisamoa, Nick Roach; CB Corey Graham; Safeties Danieal Manning, Josh Bullocks; P Maynard
Top FAs 2012: RB Forte; WR Earl Bennett; TEs Greg Olsen, Kellen Davis; OT Kevin Shaffer; OG Roberto Garza; DE Israel Idonije; DT Marcus Harrison; MLB Hunter Hillenmeyer; CBs Zackary Bowman, Tim Jennings; Safety Craig Steltz;
Draft Picks: Stephen Paea DT, J.T. Thomas OLB, Gabe Carimi OT, Nathan Enderle QB, Christopher Conte S
My free agency forecast for da Bears: Stormy Seas - The Bears need WRs in a bad way - unless the Knox/Hester duo just blows you away. They only have 5 draft picks to sign, but they do have a lot of important players that are FAs or will be next year. The O-Line is suspect, even with Carimi, and especially if they lose Kreutz. And if Cutler gets hurt (sprained meniscus I believe it was... same injury Arian Foster had all year while leading the league in rushing?), then you have Hanie (who's a free agent), then Enderle (a rookie). In a division with A.J. Hawk and friends in GB, and Suh and co. in Detroit, this could be a rough year for Bears fans. Good thing they have Peppers.
Detroit - $6.2 under cap, $7.0 OVER floor
# 2011 FAs - 15 total, 9 with 4+ years
Top FAs 2011: QB Drew Stanton; RB Kevin Smith, Jerome Felton; OG Manuel Ramirez; C Dylan Gandy; DEs Cliff Avril, Jared DeVries, Turk McBride; DT Andre Fluellen; OLBs Zack Follett, Caleb Campbell; CB Chris Houston; Safeties C.C. Brown, Marquand Manuel; Safety Louis Delmas
Top FAs 2012: QB Shaun Hill; RB Maurice Morris; WRs Bryant Johnson, Derrick Williams; OT Jeff Backus; DT Sammie Lee Hill; MLBs DeAndre Levy, Jordon Dizon;
Draft Picks: Nick Fairley DT (Top 10 Pick), Douglas Hogue OLB, Johnny Culbreath OT, Mikel Leshoure RB, Titus Young WR
My free agency forecast for the Lionz: Don't Rock the Boat - Detroit is ready to make noise, if Stafford can stay healthy. Pretty much all they need to do is re-sign Avril, and that D-Line will be insane. But, they're not in great shape cap-wise, so I wouldn't be expecting any major FA activity. If they're smart, any money they can scrape together will go for a Left Tackle.
Green Bay - $9.8 OVER cap, $ 23.0 OVER floor
# 2011 FAs - 13 total, 9 with 4+ years
Top FAs 2011: RBs Brandon Jackson, Korey Hall; WR James Jones; OGs Jason Spitz, Daryn Colledge; DEs Cullen Jenkins, Johnny Jolly; Safety Atari Bigby; K Crosby
Top FAs 2012: QB Matt Flynn; RB Ryan Grant; WR Jordy Nelson; TEs Finley, Donald Lee; OT Mark Tauscher; OG Josh Sitton; C Scott Wells; CBs Al Harris, Patrick Lee; Safety Derrick Martin;
Draft Picks: Davon House DB, Rick Elmore DE, Lawrence Guy DT, Caleb Schlauderaff OG, D.J. Smith OLB, Derek Sherrod OT, Alexander Green RB, D.J. Williams TE, Ryan Taylor TE, Randall Cobb WR
My free agency forecast for the Pack: Calm Seas - Nothing to be done aside from signing the 10 draft picks. When you have no money, it's nice that your players all have shiny new rings. They'll lose a few players in FA (B. Jackson, J. Jones, C. Jenkins, etc.), but the champs are still the team to beat. Luckily, they won't be buyers.
Minnesota - $11.6 under cap, $1.6 OVER floor
# 2011 FAs - 19 total, 16 with 4+ years
Top FAs 2011: QB Tarvaris Jackson; RB Naufahu Tahi; WRs Sidney Rice, Greg Lewis; OT Ryan Cook; DEs Brian Robison, Ray Edwards; DTs Pat Williams, Fred Evans; OLBs Erin Henderson, Ben Leber; CB Lito Sheppard; Safeties Eric Frampton, Husain Abdullah; K Longwell
Top FAs 2012: RB Jeff Dugan; WR Greg Camarillo; TEs Visanthe Shiancoe, Jim Kleinsasser; Cs Jon Cooper, John Sullivan; DTs Jimmy Kennedy,Letroy Guion; OLB Heath Farwell; MLB E.J. Henderson (Probe Owler); Safety Tyrell Johnson
Draft Picks: Brandon Fusco C, Brandon Burton DB, De'Aundre Reed DE, Christian Ballard DT, Ross Homan OLB, Demarcus Love OT, Christian Ponder QB, Mistral Raymond S., Kyle Rudolph TE, Stephen Burton WR
My free agency forecast for the Vikes: Stormy Seas - After signing their 10 picks, and finding a kicker, will the Vikes have enough money to grab a vet QB? If not, I'm worried about (Jamie's boi) Ponder. Percy Harvin is talented, and I feel bad for him as well (I may joke about Cutler's meniscus, but not Harvin's chronic migraines; sad, not funny). Losing Sydney Rice will hurt. But, by drafting Rudolph, the Vikes can use 2 TE sets and give the ball to Peterson All Day (literally). They may try to get a WR in FA, if they can find the funds.
Next up: NFC West and AFC North (the final installment).