My Top Free Agents for the Panthers

Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports

Obviously the money plays into my selections knowing the Panthers have a pauper's budget to work with.

I also have a hard time thinking the Panthers planned on losing their top 4 WRs from 2013. That makes this the primary guy we need to pay fair market value for:

Nicks, Finley highlight top 50 free agents available - NFL.com
3. Hakeem Nicks, WR, New York Giants: The Panthers are targeting Nicks to replace Steve Smith, per Rapoport. General manager Dave Gettleman will have to cross his fingers while Nicks meets with the Colts on Friday.

Getting a big target like Nicks in free agency would pair up well with one of the speed demon rookies the Panthers will be able to choose from in the draft. If we lose Nicks then here the back-up plan must be:

15. James Jones, WR, Green Bay Packers: Now that Eric Decker and Golden Tate are off the market, Jones joins Nicks as the best remaining big-play wideouts. He's reportedly the radar of the Panthers and Jets.

I think Jones still has some upside and could put up some decent numbers for us.

Now for the next glaring hole:

18. Donald Penn, OT, Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Although he's battled weight problems in the past, Penn hasn't missed a start in six years. He should draw plenty of interest now that the top tackles have been snatched up.

Hasn't missed a start? Plus he's a pretty good run blocker so that plays into our offense. (Trying to keep it positive here) If you don't like the thought of Penn then how about Oher?

20. Michael Oher, OT, Baltimore Ravens: Still in his prime, Oher is facing a depressed market after his play dropped off precipitously as a run-blocker in 2013.

How about both of them, Oher at LT and Penn at RT? Since one is a better pass blocker and the other a better run blocker. Salary cap, yeah right...

Since we seem to prefer to sign lower tier guys for the secondary, if this guy could stay healthy then we might have something:

44. Asante Samuel, CB, Atlanta Falcons: Now 33 and coming off a disappointing season plagued by injuries, Samuel will have to wait for younger, safer cornerbacks to sign before he finds a suitor.

And now a safety:

27. Chris Clemons, S, Miami Dolphins: Clemons' market has been quiet, but he's now the best available at his position after a half-dozen safeties screamed off the board on the first day of free agency.

If picked a few of those guys I might start to feel better about the roster though the salary cap makes it very hard to happen.

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