As a Carolina Panthers fan, this off season is the most exciting ever. Cam Newton is coming off the greatest rookie season in NFL history and the Panthers have one of the most explosive offenses in the NFL. The running game is strong once again and the Panthers primary weaknesses are on the defensive side. The free agent list for the Panthers is not nearly as intimidating as it was in 2011 and the majority of them are players that we need to let go anyway. Though none of these free agents are absolute must keeps, there are several that would be beneficial to our team. Three in particular stand out to me as players that could benefit us greatly.
Dan Conner – Middle Linebacker
When it comes to depth, Conner is the ultimate linebacker. He can play all of the linebacker spots but his primary position is middle linebacker. That also happens to be the position of All-Pro Jon Beason who is coming off of major surgery in 2011. Having Dan Conner in the wings is one heck of a security blanket that the Panthers need. Hopefully Beason will be fine, but Conner would be great to have around if he was not. Conner seems to want to see what the market could bring, so he may end up with too high of a price tag.
Geoff Hangartner – Offensive Lineman
Hangartner is one of those players that teams simply have to keep. He is durable, flexible and yet still average enough to keep his costs reasonable. Geoff knows this system and can fill in however needed. Of the offensive lineman up to be possibly leaving, Hangartner is certainly the most important to resign. Hangartner seems amenable to staying in Charlotte, so hopefully this will get done.
Derek Anderson – Quarterback
Anderson was not somebody I expected to come in and be a good mentor when he first arrived at Carolina. I truly thought that he was simply too arrogant and competitive to be willing to sit back and help out a rookie. Man, was I and many others wrong. Anderson has been exactly what Cam Newton needed to excel and a large part of that has been attitude. Anderson has been a calming influence on Cam and he knows the system well enough to impart information that helps. With or without Jimmy Clausen staying, Anderson should come back for a couple of years.
*Southern is a huge Carolina Panthers fan that has every intention of seeing them in the Super Bowl by 2015. Cam Newton is making that prediction a bit more viable every single day.