So like many of you, I have been wrecking my mind with the possibilities our FO has this offseason, and knowing that there's no possible way to predict what will really happen, from the endless transactions to the draft day madness, I have decided to try my hand at predicting the perfect combination of my personal Preferences VS Reality, and it went something like this:
Cam Newton Signs 5 year extension averaging nearly 18 million per year. This is the Number One Priority this Offseason. Forget the draft, Hardy's contract or anything else, Dave Gettelman is thinking of one simple thing, and that's his Franchise Quarterback
Charles Godfrey is cut, saves around 2.1 million towards the cap
Greg Hardy is franchise tagged and traded to the Cowboys for their 1st and 2nd round picks (Keep in mind I chose the Dallas for several reasons, Spencer being injured/FA, Jerry Jones being the type of guy to carry out such a transaction I.E. the Morris Claiborne trade a while back and them not wanting to bid for Hardy on the open market)
The Free Agents: Out of the 21 UFA we have I believe the ones we retain are the following
Jordan Gross OT : GMan is not leaving Cam without his best pass protector, and Gross is open to return to where he has spent his entire career.
Mike Mitchell FS : He played real well last year and wont be that expensive, and honestly I just like the attitude he bring to this team
- Quintin Mikell SS: Even though I like a Lester/Mitchell combo, Quintin would provide great veteran depth, especially with Godfrey not guaranteed to come back due to his contract situation
- Captain Munnerlyn CB : He did improve this year, and with Thomas, Florence and Norman as good as gone we can not afford to lose our best Corner
- Jordan Senn and Jason Williams LB/ST: Two great Special Teams contributes and Linebacker depth
Travelle Wharton OG : I just finished reading an article on CSR about how great Wharton was, and compiling his relative cheap price tag, Silatolu and Kugbila being wildcards and our poor O-Line he needs to be back
- Ben Hartsock TE : I cannot understate how great Hartsock was in run blocking this past season, and seeing as how we are considered to be a running team having an extra blocker will be a great bonus
- Graham Gano K : This is pretty simple, Remember Olindo Mare? I don't want that again
- Ted Ginn Jr. WR/KR : The only reason I chose Ginn over LaFell and Hixon is versatility. Ginn can make more of an impact on special teams and the draft is loaded with LaFell/Hixon-esque WR
The Draft: Having an extra 1st and 2nd will do wonders for our FO and based on BPA meets Needs I think the Draft will go something like this :
- Round 1 Pick 15:Taylor Lewan, OT, Michigan Height: 6-8. Weight: 302 Taylor Lewan is the type of guy that you draft and just leave in his position for a decade, he is as polished as any LT in the draft, and having a year to learn from Jordan Gross on the right side of the line will only help his cause.
- Round 1 Pick 28: Kelvin Benjamin, WR, Florida State Height: 6-5. Weight: 234. After letting LaFell and Hixon go, we are left with Smitty, Ginn, McNutt and King as WR on the roster, and in comes Kelvin Benjamin, a giant WR that is a bit on the raw side but offers boundless potential, and if you need a glimpse of what this guy can do, just check out FSU's National Title winning TD. He will provide instant production and finally a Red-Zone target for Cam not named Greg.
- Round 2 Pick 15: Jordan Matthews, WR, Vanderbilt Height: 6-3. Weight: 205. Hey if it worked with Star and KK why not do it again. 5/6 WRs is about what every team carries, And having suffered through mediocrity at the WR position for nearly a decade Smitty finally gets some serious help. Now I know we have many other needs but just bare with me, the value of Mathews here is great, and a recieving corps featuring Him, Smitty, Benjamin, Ginn and Olsen will help Turn our bottom third passing attack to a force that strikes fear into anyone not name Seattle.
- Round 2 Pick 28: Stanley Jean-Baptiste, CB, Nebraska Height: 6-2. Weight: 215 Speaking of Seattle, have you seen those CBs !!!. Now I know this is somewhat of a reach, but Risk Vs Reward is something that goes into every pick, and thats not to say Jean-Baptiste is just a tall slouch, he impressed at the Senior Bowl, and showed that he can be more than just a Press-Cover corner. And having just Munny, White and Dockery on the roster just wont cut it in todays NFL
- Round 3 Pick 28: Keith McGill, CB, Utah Height: 6-3. Weight: 214 Hey if it worked with Benjamin and Matthews why not do it again. Again I understand the numerous holes in our roster, but for a second straight time the value is just to great. The simple idea of two 6'3" CBs with Munnerlyn in the slot with our Front Seven is just scary, and in a day and age where a 3rd CB is playing more than 70% of the defensive snaps, having a large rotation is a must.
- Round 4 Pick 28: Ben Gardner, DE, Stanford Height: 6-4. Weight: 275. Remember when we traded Greg Hardy a while back, well this is the reaction. Now hold your horses, im in no way, shape or form suggesting that Ben Gardner is the next Kraken, but a guy with great measurables and respectable production that just might be underrated due to his injuries this past season would be a nice addition to a rotation featuring Addison, Alexandre and Horton to help lessen the blow of Hardy leaving.
- Round 5 Pick 28: Logan Thomas, QB, Virginia Tech Height: 6-6. Weight: 262 Having lost our backup QB to free agency, the Panthers select what many people consider a poor man's Cam Newton. Thomas is a strong-armed, big bodied QB with some scrambling ability but is really REALLY raw, so he would provide a nice value/need combination in the 5th round
- Round 6 Pick 28:Cornelius Lucas, OT, Kansas State Height: 6-9. Weight: 328. Hey If it worked with Jean-Baptist and McGill... OK ill just stop. I know double-dipping 3 times in a single draft is nearly impossible, but look at it this way, its the 6th round, no more sure things, you have covered most of the holes in your roster and are now looking at a starting LT on his last legs and a raw prospect from Kansas State that can provide good immediate backup and a possible future starter, why not.
- Round 7 Pick 10: Mister Cobble, NT, Kentucky Height: 6-0. Weight: 340 Ok with our final pick, I used 3 things to settle on Mister Cobble, first the need for a back-up NT to help out Star seeing how we lost Colin Cole, our front office being size obsessed and this guy being 340 pounds, and finally and most importantly his name is MISTER COBBLE!!! I mean common.
Now I know that the transaction part is really lacking, and there are alot of smaller transactions that cannot be predicted at this time but I tried to highlight the most obvious ones. Regarding Free Agency, aside from some JAG or hole-filler signed on the cheap, I don't think we will be signing anyone from the outside, Getts has already said that he prefers to build through the draft and that's what i think he will try to do. And finally the draft, and let me get this out of the way, I know Double Dipping 3 times wont happen, and ill be surprised if we do it even twice, but I truly believe this is the draft that helps fill all the holes in our roster while not reaching too high and sacrificing value. I appreciate any feedback or critiques you guys might have, let me know what you think.