The Carolina Panthers have become a safe place for veteran reclamation projects. It's a place where players seem to regain their footing before moving on and Dave Gettleman has used these type of players to bridge the cap through the team's murky salary cap situation and guide the ship into calmer waters. On the surface the idea of adding Brandon Flowers is perfection, but it's a flawed dream.
Flowers was shockingly released by the Kansas City Chiefs on Friday, part of a late-week news dump in the hopes information wouldn't carry. It's a fairly common move to share disappointing news with fans right before the weekend, but nonetheless cutting a Pro Bowl caliber cornerback was stunning.
The 28-year-old has been reportedly contacted by 10 teams so far, and while the Panthers aren't explicitly mentioned it's foolish to think they wouldn't at least kick the tires on someone with his ability. Sure he doesn't fit the big-bodied mold the team has been using, but it doesn't matter. When your best option at corner is likely a veteran safety coming off an injury it's time to look at all avenues.
NFL.com believes Flowers will find a new home by the end of the week, but there are a few reasons why it's hard to envision that home being Charlotte.
- Money: This is the biggest reason and most prohibitive. Flowers signed a $50 million deal in 2011 and while he's restructured the contract while in Kansas City it's hard to imagine him settling for a $2-3 million deal, which is the most the Panthers could reasonably afford. It all comes down to supply and demand. The league is all about the passing game, which necessitates a bevy of good corners. This naturally drives prices up.
- Bigger fish to fry: Cornerback is vitally important, but not as critical as finding a left tackle. It's cute that Byron Bell and Garry Williams will compete for the spot, but realistically the team's best chances to stay strong on offense hinge on a training camp cut. When this happens the Panthers will need to move quickly, making it critical for money to stay available.
- The answer is already on the roster, maybe: This has been the Panthers' standard line when met with any question about a weakness, but in the case of cornerback it might be correct. Melvin White broke out a year ago and early reports from OTAs are that mid-round pick Bene Benwikere looks fantastic. That means it might be too early for the team to try and make a splash at a position with depth.