As far as I'm concerned, the offseason and free agency have gone splendidly for our dear Panthers. Some of the CSR readers (PT) have expressed disdain for Marty Hurney and his decisions during this and other offseasons; however, this is a completely deluded and unfortunate point of view. Hurney realized that mortgaging our future for a couple of overpriced free agents was not the path he wanted to take. And as exciting as it is when we get new players, overpaying for Vincent Jackson or Mario Williams was not a viable option. Buffalo gave 100 million dollars to Mario Williams. Tampa gave over 50 million for Vincent Jackson. These are huge amounts for these players, and we do not have that kind of cash right now. Would it have been cool to have either of those players? Yeah, it most certainly would have. But I ask you, if we paid all of this money to these players - how would we get the money to pay Jonathan Stewart next year? More importantly, how would we get the money to pay our greatest, and most important player, Cam Newton, in three years? Stewart is an integral player on and off the field, and he deserves to be paid. Cam is already the most electrifying player in the league, and he is going to require upwards of 100 million on his next contract. So, if you feel the need to come in here and complain about the job Hurney is doing - just stay away from the computer because MH is one of the main reasons we are set up for a great run in 2012.
So, are the stars lining up for the Panthers?
The way I see it, the following situations are working in the Panther's favor:
Mario Williams - A great player who could have caused a great headache in Atlanta. Alas, he is safely up in Buffalo destined for 6 years of losing. He will cause no problems for the Panthers.
New Orleans - They have the bounty scandal hanging over their heads meaning possible suspensions for the General Manager, Head Coach, and certain players. They lost the best guard in the league, one of their main wide receivers, and Drew Brees is pissed. The offseason has not been kind to the Saints, and it has been beautiful to watch from the Carolinas.
Peyton Manning - he is NOT going to Arizona. As Panther fans have come to realize, Arizona has become a yearly opponent, and the games are usually close (unless Jake is throwing 5 Ints); therefore, from my point of view, it was worrisome when Peyton was considering the Cardinals. Could you imagine the Carolina secondary against a Larry Fitzgerald with Manning at QB?
Atlanta - No major signings. With an improved defense, we should beat them this year.
Tampa Bay - They have been the major players in free agency this year; however, they overpaid for two average players (Jackson and Wright). Carl Nicks was by far their best signing, and this will make getting to Josh Freeman difficult - but at least he isn't Drew Brees.
As long as we stay healthy, improve our defense, and Cam works hard this offseason (I have no doubts he will) - the Panthers should make a run at the Super Bowl.