Teams are able to begin negotiations this weekend, for the first time -- just not with players. Instead they're relegated to speaking to agents, and we're supposed to believe no players are being involved in these discussions. Tampering weekend continues Sunday, and while the Panthers haven't been linked to any free agents yet, we know one name you can well and truly cross off the list.
Mike Wallace was always a dream, but with news emerging that he is pursuing, and could get equivalent money to Larry Fitzgerald -- kiss that dream goodbye. According to an article over on Behind the Steel Curtain, Wallace is looking for a $13-million per-year deal, and sources indicate he might get it. The leader in the race seems to be the Miami Dolphins, who are looking to add more weapons for Ryan Tannehill. The silver lining? If Miami spend the majority of their free agent dollars on receivers (they re-signed Brian Hartline on Thursday) it would preclude them from taking a wide receiver in the first round. They were the team I most believed would select either Cordarrelle Patterson or Keenan Allen in the draft.
Another wide receiver making the rounds is Anquan Boldin. Deciding to test free agency, the 32-year-old will get plenty of attention around the league. It's tempting to want to add him here in Carolina, but realistically it doesn't make much sense. Boldin is an amazing talent, and would fit extremely well in the Panthers' offense, however, it would be tantamount to adding a second Steve Smith to the roster -- short-term gains, but doesn't meet the need do build for sustained success.
Furthermore, you might be shocked how statistically similar Boldin and Brandon LaFell were in the 2012 season:
- Boldin (15 games): 65 receptions, 921 yards (14.2 avg), 4 TD
- LaFell (14 games): 44 receptions, 677 yards (15.4 avg), 4 TD
It's important to note that LaFell was targeted 36 times less than Boldin in 2012. Essentially it's on Cam to get him the ball more.
If you're looking for a talented (albeit, inconsistent) player who Carolina could have some interest in -- look no further than cornerback Antoine Cason, formerly of the San Diego Chargers. A former first-round pick, Cason's selection in 2008 lined up with Ron Rivera's first season as defensive coordinator. He's a player who Rivera will know well, and wont likely cost a lot of money -- however, there's already buzz surrounding him, with both the Cleveland Browns and Detroit Lions showing interest. Following the release of Chris Gamble, the Panthers need another cornerback in the worst possible way -- time will tell how they look to fill that void.