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Prioritizing the Panthers 2016 Offseason Needs

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The Panthers have needs specific to individual players as well as position groups that need to be prioritized.

Streeter Lecka/Getty Images

Fortunately the NFL calendar dictates the order in which the Panthers will address these issues regardless of priority.

First up the Panthers must absolutely without a shadow of a doubt...re-sign their long snapper. Check! Whew...I was sweating that one ;)

Seriously first up we need to franchise tag Josh Norman. We discussed this specifically earlier in the week.

Next up we need to sign DT Kawann Short to an  extension or long term deal of some sort. They don't have the 5th year option for Short like they do for Lotulelei. The word is the Panthers are already on it:

Kawann Short - Carolina Panthers - 2016 Player Profile - Rotoworld.com

The Charlotte Observer expects the Panthers to sign DT Kawann Short to a long-term contract this offseason. He's entering the last year of his rookie contract and is due for a raise after earning PFF's fourth-highest defensive tackle grade out of 70 qualifiers in 2015.

Carolina will also have to make a decision on Star Lotulelei, whose fifth-year option must be exercised by May. Short was among the best pass-rushing defensive tackles in football this past season. Lotulelei struggled in that area but was better against the run.

Exercising Star's 5th year option is a no-brainer in my view. If he can keep from getting dinged up early he should be in line for a monster year next year next to Short.

Next up is free agency. Since the Panthers don't draft for need you have to look at free agency as the only sure opportunity to address specific needs. Here's how I would prioritize those needs:

Right Tackle - Either position can be upgraded though RT seems more pressing if the Panthers are going to prevent a repeat of the pounding Cam Newton took from the edge pressure. I could live with Oher at LT for another season but if they think Daryl Williams is better suited at OG then they need more depth at RT. Remmers vs Williams should be a top training camp battle.

Wide Receiver - A speedy outside guy to throw in with Philly and Ginn would be nice. A slot guy would compliment Benjamin and Funchess. I will say Philly impressed me in the SB and think he could build on that going into 2016. Just getting a healthy KB back might be all this group really needs, even if it's Bersin that replaces Cotchery.

Safety - With the release of Harper it's a done deal the Panthers will bring in a free agent safety and probably draft one too. Don't sleep on Dean Marlowe though, who will be in the mix come training camp.

Cornerback - I could live with a healthy Peanut Tillman for another season provided Ben Benwikere returns healthy, which he should. We never saw Lou Young could do on the field but maybe he's ready to next the step.

Defensive End - Because you can never have enough pass rushers. (My secret hope if one falls to us at #30.

Defensive Tackle - Releasing the old as dirt Dwan Edwards (34) would create a spot for a solid rookie to rotate in and because you can never have enough hog mollies. This draft is deep at DT supposedly and we know G-man loves his hog mollies.

Thoughts?