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Panthers Notes: Cam Newton, Greg Hardy, Free Agents

Joe Person of the Charlotte Observer takes a quick look at some of the players the Panthers are likely to address this offseason.

Cam Newton

Person expects the Panthers to try to get a long-term extension worked with QB Cam Newton this offseason.

Newton is now eligible to negotiate a contract extension as he has just one year remaining on his rookie contract that will pay him $3.378 million.

It will be fascinating to see what kind of deal Newton secures given that he’s still only 24-years-old and has shown some development as a quarterback in recent years. Quarterbacks who are in their thirties like Tony Romo and Jay Cutler have received rather sizable contracts without much in terms of playoff performance.

  • Jay Cutler (30): seven years, $126M total, $54M guaranteed, $18M annually.
  • Tony Romo (33): seven years, $119.5M total, $55M guaranteed, $17.07M annually.

I bring up these contracts to show what players are getting who are considerably older than Newton. A more realistic comparison of what Newton could command in terms of a new contract is the deal signed by Matthew Stafford.

  • Matthew Stafford (25): five years, $76.5M total, $41.5M guaranteed, $15.3M annually.

Greg Hardy

According to Person, DE Greg Hardy “figures to be an offseason priority for the Panthers.”

Hardy recently told reporters that he has no issues with the Panthers using their franchise tag on him this offseason. The Panthers should have close to $19 million in available cap space to work with next season, but a long-term deal could cost them north of $70 million and $40 million guaranteed.

Hardy, 25, has contributed a very impressive 26 sacks to the Panthers defense in the past two seasons. He is a part of arguably the best defensive end tandem in the league that also includes Charles Johnson.

We have him listed as the No. 2 player in our Top 50 Free Agents list.

Free Agents

  • Person mentions that the Panthers’ secondary could look “completely different” next year.
  • CB Captain Munnerlyn and FS Mike Mitchell have previously mentioned that they would like to return to Carolina next season.
  • Person adds CB Drayton Florence and S Quintin Mikell appear doubtful to return next season.