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What now for the Panthers and free agency?

Key dates in the 2019 NFL season start today. Here are some free agency dates of note:

Feb. 4 Waiver system begins for 2019

Feb. 12 NFL clubs may begin to sign players whose 2019 CFL contracts have expired.

Feb. 19 First day for clubs to designate Franchise or Transition Players

March 5 NFL deadline for clubs to designate Franchise or Transition Players.

March 11-13 Clubs are permitted to contact, and enter into contract negotiations with, the certified agents of players becoming Unrestricted Free Agents upon expiration of their 2018 player contracts.

March 13 Prior to 4:00 p.m., New York time, clubs must exercise options for 2019 on all players who have option clauses in their 2018 contracts. Clubs must submit qualifying offers to their Restricted Free Agents with expiring contracts to retain a Right of First Refusal/Compensation. Additionally, clubs must submit a minimum salary tender to retain exclusive negotiating rights to their players with expiring 2018 contracts who have fewer than three accrued seasons of free agency credit. Finally, Top 51 Rule begins and all clubs must be under the 2019 Salary Cap.

March 13 After 4:00 p.m. New York time, the 2019 league year and free agency period begin. Trading period for 2019 begins with the expiration of all 2018 contracts. Officially, the first day of the new league year ends at 11:59:59 p.m., New York time, on March 13. Clubs will receive a personnel notice that will include all transactions submitted to the league office during the first day of the new league year.

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Now to thePanthers: Per Sportrac.com, the Carolina Panthers have just under $19M in cap space for the 2019 season. With several roster needs to be addressed, where do you see the Panthers spending their cap dollars in the current off-season?

First off, I'm for the Panthers freeing up additional space this off-season by saying goodbye to both Captain Munnerlyn ($5M) and Torrey Smith ($5M...$3M dead money). This move alone would cover the cost of the incoming draft class. There are others, Da'Norris Searcy for example, who should also be looked at but their impact on the cap is not as significant.

Next, which Panther free agents do you look to retain? Here is a list of Panthers free agents:

  • S Mike Adams (UFA)
  • RB Cameron Artis-Payne (UFA)
  • RB Kenjon Barner (UFA)
  • RB Travaris Cadet (UFA)
  • K Chandler Catanzaro (UFA)
  • OT Chris Clark (UFA)
  • LB Thomas Davis (UFA)
  • WR Devin Funchess (UFA)
  • DE Wes Horton (UFA)
  • LB Ben Jacobs (UFA)
  • S Colin Jones (UFA)
  • C Ryan Kalil (UFA...retiring)
  • DT Kyle Love (UFA)
  • LB David Mayo (UFA)
  • OT Marshall Newhouse (UFA)
  • DE Julius Peppers (UFA...retiring)
  • S Eric Reid (UFA)
  • G Amini Silatolu (UFA)
  • RB Fozzy Whittaker (UFA)
  • OT Daryl Williams (UFA)
  • WR Damiere Byrd (RFA)
  • QB Taylor Heinicke (RFA)
  • TE Chris Manhertz (RFA)
  • LB Jared Norris (RFA)
  • DE Bryan Cox Jr. (ERFA)
  • RB Elijah Hood (ERFA)
  • S Damian Parms (ERFA)

For me, the top ten targets to retain should be Daryl Williams, Eric Reid, Wes Horton, Damiere Byrd, Kyle Love, Colin Jones, Chris Clark, Taylor Heinicke, Mike Adams, and Bryan Cox, Jr. The rest should be looked at on a case by case basis as to whether the cost vs return makes sense.

Finally, the point of this post is really to ask which outside free agents should the Panthers put atop their board to sign this off-season? Of course, everyone would love to bring DeMarcus Lawrence back home to the Carolinas but that is not a practical option. I'll give my choice and why in the comments and ask that you do the same if you have someone you particularly like.

Thanks for taking the time to read this and take a moment to answer the poll.

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