The Carolina Panthers Front Office- Wizards With Numbers

Could new-found money be the key to a long term deal for Jonathan Stewart?. Mandatory Credit: Jeremy Brevard-US PRESSWIRE

We could probably self-publish a coffee table book solely comprising of the discussions about Marty Hurney as a General Manager that have transpired here at CSR. While there have been some questionable decisions in the past, very few disagree with the notion that Hurney is a salary cap wizard, and his front office have been extremely creative at keeping the Panthers is good stead when it comes to how the cap is managed.

This had been the case for years, but recently there was a definite air of confusion about how close to the ceiling the Panthers were operating. Jaxon has mentioned a few times why 6/1/12 was an important date for the cap figure; this was the date Travelle Wharton's cap figure could be spread out, rather than taking the full hit immediately. This hamstrung the front office from making FA signings early, but now they have a lot of flexibility.

As Pat Yasinskas points out today the Panthers made a genius move with the Wharton hit:

I just got the breakdown on how Wharton's cap hit is being distributed. The Panthers only have to absorb $1.86 million this year, so they freed up almost $6 million. Wharton will also cost Carolina $1.86 million in cap space in 2013.

This in turn means the Panthers are currently $8.38 million under the salary cap, which puts them second in the division only to Tampa Bay. The downside of this move means the Panthers will have Wharton counting against the cap next season, but the dollars it frees up now are vital. With June 1st behind them, this would be the prime time for the front office to work on a long-term extension with Jonathan Stewart. As it stands the sides haven't seen eye to eye, but having $8 million free could allow for a long term deal with a lot of money up front to ease the rest of the deal.

For now Marty Hurney and his front office crew continue to make savvy moves that allay fears, and show that there is a long term plan to the way the economics of the team are being handled.

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