If getting Carolina out of cap hell is the one thing Dave Gettleman winds up being known for, then the hiring was worth it. Inheriting a losing team with no cap room to improve it is the hardest job a first-year general manager can be saddled with, but thus far he's done an excellent job. With the dust settling on the nature of Jordan Gross's restructure, we now have a better idea of where the Panthers are.
The figures from Spotrac do not yet reflect contracts that have not been finalized, or filed to the league office. That means we don't have an updated figure accounting for Chase Blackburn, Dwan Edwards, Ted Ginn, or Mike Mitchell -- however we at least get a ballpark idea of the team's situation.
The current cap figure is $113,106,277 -- not including the players listed above. Including estimated salaries ($5 million total) it appears Carolina have roughly $5-million in open cap space, which is right around what they'll need to reserve in order to sign the 2013 draft class.
There are still several moves that need to be made. The Panthers are without a true #3 receiver, and have a glaring hole at the NT position. Currently with 67 players under contract (including those destined for the practice squad) there are a few more cuts that could happen, freeing up more moves. These are the most obvious ones remaining:
- Geoff Hangartner: A nice option in a pinch, he's also carrying a fairly high cap figure ($1.58 million), and with no bonus money remaining it would be an easy way to free up some money. If the Panthers can get a right guard through the draft it would negate needing Hangartner, and $1.58 million is too much for a backup -- even a good one.
- Kenny Onatolu: Arriving in Carolina as a special teams ace, Onatolu was only able to appear in four games last year. While he was a nice backup option to have, it's hard to justify keeping his $775,000 salary with Chase Blackburn on the books.
- Garry Williams: The Panthers don't have the ability to cut two offensive linemen, but if they find a tackle in the draft it's an easy decision. With a salary over $1-million, and a remaining bonus of $133,000 it would save the team a lot to lean on a different depth lineman.