Panthers Free Agency Update
Witherspoon lays wood
Witherspoon lays wood
PantherInsider.com
Posted Mar 21, 2005


After an early flurry of activity that saw the Panthers release All Pro WR Muhsin Muhammad and the signings of Mike Wahle, Ken Lucas and Marlon McCree, the team shifts its free agency focus to re-signing it's own.

UNRESTRICTED FREE AGENTS

--LB Brian Allen has been a decent special teams player and backup linebacker for Carolina. They could him bring him back if he agrees to something close to a league-minimum deal.

--LB Jessie Armstead is not a high priority for the Panthers, but there's a chance he could come back given his relationship with John Fox. Armstead missed all of 2004 on IR.

--RB Brandon Bennett was basically a fill-in back for the Panthers, who were decimated at that position in '04. Don't expect him to return.

--LB Mark Fields is likely to re-sign with Carolina. Fields feels a sense of loyalty to the Panthers who helped him through his battle with cancer. It's just a matter of how much and for how long.

--S Curtis Fuller was a fill-in player for the Panthers and there will be cheaper and better alternatives available.

--DE Kavika Pittman has missed the last two seasons with torn ACLs in his knee and you have to wonder if he has anything left.

--S Damien Richardson has missed the last two seasons with injuries and will probably not return.

--OG Rich Tylski was an adequate backup but couldn't handle the starting job. Look for the team to seek a younger alternative and for Tylski to end up back in retirement.

--OT Matt Willig cost the Panthers a few games last season at right tackle and there's very little chance he'll be back in '05. In fact, he could call it quits after 13 years in the NFL.

RESTRICTED FREE AGENTS

--DE Kemp Rasmussen (tendered at $656,000 with no compensation) is well-liked as a pass rusher coming off the bench and for his special teams ability.

--CB Dante Wesley (tendered at $656,000 with 4th-round pick as compensation) is a former fourth-round pick who has never been able to take advantage of opportunities at corner. A dime back at best, Wesley received the minimum tender from the club but will be hard-pressed to make the squad.

--LB Will Witherspoon (tendered at $1.43M with 1st-round pick as compensation).

EXCLUSIVE RIGHTS FREE AGENTS

--DT Jordan Carstens (tendered at $305,000) played well and even started one game due to injuries to other players. He will at least get a contract and come back to camp with the team.

--LB Vinny Ciurciu (tendered at $380,000).

--FB Casey Cramer (tendered at $305,000).

--RB Joey Harris(tendered at $305,000).

--CB Eddie Jackson(tendered at $305,000).

--DT Omari Jordan (tendered at $305,000).

--DT Cleveland Pinkney (tendered at $380,000).

--LB Sean Tufts (tendered at $305,000).

PLAYERS RE-SIGNED

--WR Karl Hankton: UFA; $3M/4 yrs, $300,000 SB.

--OT Dave Kadela: Potential ERFA; terms unknown.

--CB William Hampton: Potential RFA; 2 yrs, terms unknown.

--RB Jamal Robertson: RFA; $656,000/1 yr.

--WR Micah Ross: Potential RFA; 2 yrs, terms unknown.

--RB Rod Smart: Potential UFA; 4 yrs, terms unknown).

PLAYERS ACQUIRED

--CB Ken Lucas: UFA Seahawks; $36M/6 yrs, $13M bonuses.

--S Marlon McCree: UFA Texans; $640,000/1 yr, $100,000 SB.

--OG Mike Wahle: FA Packers; $27M/5 yrs, $8M SB/$350,000 RB '06/$1M RB '07-'08/$2M RB '09/$1M base guarantee '05; 2005 cap: $2.6M.

PLAYERS LOST

--OG Doug Brzezinski (released).

--CB Artrell Hawkins (released).

--WR Muhsin Muhammad (released).

--QB Rodney Peete (released).

--S Travares Tillman: UFA Dolphins; $1.7M/2 yrs, $600,000 SB.

MEDICAL WATCH

According to Panthers website, guard Tutan Reyes torn the lateral meniscus in his left knee in the team's regular season finale against New Orleans on Jan. 2. The injury had not been made public by the team after the season. Reyes, who overcame several nagging injuries last season, says that he had the knee scoped and should be ready for minicamp


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