The Carolina Panthers are currently sitting close to $15 million over the salary cap, so it’s safe to assume that roster moves will be coming for this team.
Joe Person of the Charlotte Observer takes a look at a number of players that fall into the cap casualty category.
League sources have informed Person that CB Chris Gamble is likely to be cut loose given that he has a $10.9 million cap figure.
There has been a lot of speculation that Gamble would be released and the fact that they could save $7.9 million in cap space makes this seem like a pretty obvious move for the Panthers. Gamble, 29, suffered a shoulder injury back in October that forced Carolina to place him on season-ending injured reserve.
It really wouldn’t be surprising to see them target a cornerback in this year’s draft. Normally, I’d suggest that they could sign one of the numerous options available in this year’s free agent market, but until we see how much cap room they have to work with, it’s safer to assume they’ll use a draft pick.
Offensive tackle Jordan Gross is another player who’s a prime candidate to be released.
Gross, 32, stands to make $8.7 million next season, but the Panthers could save $6.7 million by parting ways with him.
It would be a tough move for them, considering that Gross was clearly their best offensive lineman this season and there’s no solid replacement for him on their current roster. Once again, there are a lot of great offensive tackle options in the free agent market, but who knows if they’ll be able to pursue anyone.
Although LB Jon Beason will count $9.5 million against the Panthers cap next season, it’s unlikely that the Panthers will cut him loose, despite the fact that he’s only played 5 games since signing a massive six-year, $51.338 million contract.
Releasing Beason would actually have a negative impact on the team’s cap, so it seems more likely that he could be approached about possibly reworking his contract. The play of rookie LB Luke Kuechly will likely force them to move Beason to outside linebacker next season.
DeAngelo Williams’ name has come up as another release candidate, but like Beason, cutting him would only have a negative impact on their 2013 cap.
Person notes that Carolina could always wait until June 1, which would allow them to split his guaranteed cash over the course of the next two seasons.
Williams, 29, isn’t worth the money he’s being paid, but it’s going to be very difficult for them to part ways with him in the next few months.
Person lists a few other players that the Panthers’ new GM Dave Gettleman will have to consider at some point during the offseason as well. There’s a lot of great information in this article, so be sure to check it out if you’re looking for more on the Panthers cap situation.