It's the first day of June, which is significant for a few reasons. First, where the heck did the year go? Second, because it means the Panthers gained some salary cap space.
Players designated as June 1 cuts allow for remaining money to be distributed over two years, rather than taking the cap hit all at once. Most teams like to get their hits out of the way immediately, but when you're cash-strapped like the Panthers it makes a lot of sense and gives the team some breathing room.
This year seven players were designated, including Steve Smith. Releasing him under the June 1 designation freed up two million in space this year, which is vitally important if the team hopes to land a veteran offensive tackle when teams begin cutting players in training camp. It's our hope that the team pursues this route, otherwise it could be a very difficult 2014 season for Cam Newton.
According to Over the Cap the Panthers have an estimated $6.9M in available cap space right now. Keep in mind that some of this money is still reserved for signing rookies, but that's not a bad spot to be in -- not great, but neither is it terrible. The money should give the team the room it needs to find a couple of veterans willing to play on one-year deals, patching up those last-second holes and mitigating any training camp injuries (there will be one, there is every year.)
The process to make the Panthers cap-solvent has been a multi-year task of Dave Gettleman's, now it seems the team is finally close to realizing that goal. Realistically it will be another lean year before there's money to spend, but when you're chasing sustainable success it's really the only way.