Who Will be the Panthers First Free Agent Signing of 2014?

Nick Laham

We've already reported that rumors are the Panthers first move might be to cut WR Steve Smith. Putting that aside, who might be the first new player they add to the roster?

If the national pundits have it right it should be this guy, who has made no secret of his desire to play in front of his hometown crowd:

Jairus Byrd, Ben Tate to Browns? Logical matches in free agency - NFL.com

5) Hakeem Nicks to Carolina Panthers While he was talking to Josina Anderson on ESPN, Nicks found himself daydreaming about catching passes from Andrew Luck, Philip Rivers ... or Cam Newton. Yes, Nicks could get along with Newton quite well. The Panthers enjoyed a fabulous regular season in 2013, going 12-4 to win the NFC South. But this overachieving squad can certainly stand to upgrade its passing attack, particularly in the receiver department. Carolina GM Dave Gettleman came from the Giants organization. While Nicks has slumped mightily over the past two seasons -- logging a grand total of three touchdowns, all of which came in 2012 -- Gettleman has seen him dominate with physical play and clutch catches. The UNC product -- and Charlotte native -- could return home to get his good name back.

This signing made sense even before the notion of losing Steve Smith was broached. With WRs Ted Ginn and potentially Brandon LaFell on their way out as well the Panthers WR depth will be paper thin. They absolutely have to sign a FA wide receiver. Well they don't have to unless they really plan to double dip at WR in the draft. That is a risky proposition that I just don't see Gettleman engaging. Nicks should be primed for a statistical comeback in Carolina if paired with Cam Newton. Plus the price should be right for a guy coming off two less then stellar seasons.

So who do you think will be the Panthers first free agent signing?

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