With a Monday deadline looming, many NFL teams will spend today playing tag with their free agents.
That’s not the case with the Panthers.
While teams like the Eagles placed the franchise tag on WR DeSean Jackson on Thursday and the Ravens likely to do the same today with RB Ray Rice, the Panthers are not expected to use the tag.
Given that the Panthers are $9 million over the salary cap and without a marquee free agent, it wouldn’t make much sense to do so.
The Panthers tagged center Ryan Kalil last year before locking up their Pro Bowl center with a long-term, contract extension. Kalil was one of seven of the Panthers’ core players who received contract extensions following the lockout.
The Panthers have 10 free agents this year, but only one — TE Jeremy Shockey — is ranked among Pro Football Weekly’s top 100 free agents. Shockey, who checks in at No. 92 on PFW’s list, said last fall he’d like to return to Charlotte, although Panthers coach Ron Rivera said last week Shockey was considering retirement.
Several of the Panthers’ other free agents were veterans who signed one-year deals last summer — RG Geoff Hangartner, QB Derek Anderson, WR Legedu Naanee, LB Omar Gaither and DE Antwan Applewhite.
LB Dan Connor, a starter the last two seasons due to injuries to Thomas Davis and Jon Beason, will become an unrestricted free agent this month. Connor has indicated he wants to test the market.