Ron Rivera must have been trying to throw his NFC South competition for a loop when he opened his mouth at the NFL Combine on Tuesday. When asked if the Carolina Panthers would make a play at a big-play wide receiver like Mike Wallace he had this to say “You’re warm, but you know, what’s going to be interesting is how things unfold once we get to March 12.”
It’s obvious Rivera is trying to sell some oceanfront property someplace in Arizona and I’m not buying any.
Let’s make no mistake the Panthers are the last team that will go out and make a move on a top-notch free agent like Wallace. After a 7-9 season the Panthers are currently $10M over the cap and will be releasing players like crazy after June 1st when players like DeAngelo Williams will save the team $3.4M if cut.
Moving forward, this team shouldn’t even have Wallace on the radar considering the lack of production from other positions and the immediate log-jam another wide receiver would create. Steve Smith is 33-years-old and has been a staple for the Panthers since being drafted, however that doesn’t mean he isn’t effective as he posted his seventh straight 1,000 yard season in 2012. Although Smith isn’t a spring chicken he still will provide exactly what Cam Newton and this offense needs for at least another season.
Newton also has Brandon LaFell as a target and the 26-year-old receiver is primed to explode in his fourth-NFL campaign. With LaFell hitting career highs in touchdowns, receptions and receiving yards in just 14 games last year I can’t see why the Panthers would add even more talent to this position.