We can cross priority #1 off the list as the Carolina Panthers agreed to terms to keep defensive end Charles Johnson in Charlotte with a deal that rivals that of Julius Peppers who left the Panthers for Chicago last year.
The 6 year, $78 million deal includes $32 million in guaranteed money, including a $30 million signing bonus. On the surface this seems like a huge reach for the Panthers, and a ludicrous amount of guaranteed money for a one year starter, but in reality this could be a very clever contract depending on how it's structured.
Theoretically, the Panthers could choose to basically stand pat from here on out. Sign the rookies, Williams, Anderson and Davis and essentially let the chips fall where they may. Should they choose this route all $30 million of Johnson's signing bonus could count against this year's cap. This could leave the Panthers owning CJ just $8 million a year for the length of the deal, freeing up more money for extensions for Ryan Kalil and Jon Beason next season.
If there's a dark lining to this cloud it's pondering Chris Gamble. There seem to be some serious rumblings the Panthers will cut their starting CB, and if this is the case Johnson's large deal could foreshadow a need to recoup some money.