Carolina Panthers added a 6-6 255 blocking TE today claiming D.C. Jefferson off waviers from the Cardinals. Jefferson is a pure blocker something the Panthers coaching staff loves. Jefferson however isn't without baggage though as he was hit with a DUI back in November. The 219th overall pick from last years draft has failed to catch a pass in four regular season games however with his size he can move anyone around he pleases. The question with Jefferson is not his size but effort on and off the field aka maturity. However with a cap strapped team like ours moving into this upcoming offseason we must save every penny where we can so not offering Hartstock a new contract and potientally going with this kid or another draft pick seems like a wise move. Ben Hartstock is a good blocker but was banged up this year with a bad knee and age is sneaking up on him and for a TE that offers nothing in the pass catching game then going with a younger, cheaper, option is a wise move by Gettleman an company. Hartstock will be 33 next year and simply put his NFL career is coming to a close, he will be signed by someone but clearly by this move he will not be back behind G. Olsen next year which is a shame. Hartstock is a great team guy, tried his all in every game but father time catches up to everyone just ask Steve Smith, Jordan Gross, etc... however both Smith & Gross are still very valuable pieces to our franchise.
Panthers also signed LB Ben Jacobs, OG M. Jasper, OT A. McDonald, QB M. Blanchard, CB De-Andre Presley, DE Craig Roh to future contracts. No big surprise here mostly P. Squad type guys here but you never know.
J. Stewart contract jumps to cap figure of $8.285 million next season up from his cap figure of $6.875 million this past season. Rumor is Gettleman may try and have Stewart take another paycut and he kinda owes us one but injuries are never anyone's fault still $8.285 million for a RB with two bad ankles is crazy thanks again Marty Hurney.
D. Florence is unlikely to be resigned this offseason by us; he did grade out as the 22 overall CB from a list of 110 qualifiers however. It was a good season by Florence however the missed no effort tackle on Kapernick, pass interference in the game as well and lack of overall speed an age is a factor working against him. Florence should catch on somewhere as a nickel or dime back for a team and if not look for Carolina to keep tabs on him in the free agent market after preseason ends just in case injuries arise in our secondary, hey you never know.
C. Munnerlyn stated he is open to returning to the Panthers on a one year contract "if the price is right" . Honestly I cannot see this happen Cap graded out as the No. 11 out 110 qualifiers at the CB spot in the NFL this season. A multi year deal will be coming his way but it will not be from the Panthers we just don't have the cap space and we need to get taller in our secondary especially at the CB position. Munnerlyn did well for himself this year an he will be rewarded from a couple of different teams offering him multi year deals sadly I believe he like so many have played his last snap for the Panthers.
B. LaFell and his agent tried to workout a new contract with GM David Gettlman before this season however he was told no new contract would be handed out until after 2014 season. LaFell is just not a consistent target for Newton and fails to show up in big games. He does however provide a good blocking WR but doesn't put up the numbers on a consistent basis. Ted Ginn Jr however is coming off a great season an should be up for a decent contract himself but not the amount that H. Nicks will receive on the open market. A modest two or three year deal for Ginn is something Gettleman should and more then likely will do and let LaFell leave via the free agent market an draft a replacement such as J. Matthews from Vanderbilt or A. Robinson from Penn State. With a bunch of solid WR's in the draft finding someone to grade out better then LaFell shouldn't be that difficult.
Gettleman has his hands full with 21 potiental free agents. Personally I hope we keep Mike Mitchell, J. Gross, G. Hardy, restructure Stewart somehow and maybe see if Smitty will do the same every penny helps. C. Godfrey ?? Remember him he is due a crazy cap hit of around $7+million next season I believe; so I can see him returning on a restructured deal as well and playing the SS spot opposite Mike Mitchell. Mitchell is a more natural FS and struggled as a SS in Oakland as well as here. I love Mitchell attitude and physical play and letting him walk would be a mistake especially sense you will not have to break the bank to resign him yes it will take some cash but not a ton which again is good news for a team in a cap space nightmare like the Panthers.