After a 7-9 season in 2013, the Carolina Panthers fan base is doing everything they can to stay optimistic. With the NFC South rival Atlanta Falcons signing top free agent running back Steven Jackson, it’s getting even harder to keep the faith. Without any big moves on the horizon, the Panthers’ fans will continue to suffer and the backlash may not be pretty.
The club is currently cap-crunched with money being divided into three different running backs that all have areas to improve upon in 2013. This time last year the Panthers had already inked Mike Tolbert to a deal worth over $20M–I didn’t like this move from the get-go as it was simply unnecessary. However, new general manager David Gettleman has the excruciating task of keeping these fans happy without eclipsing the NFL salary cap in 2013.
Ron Rivera teased Carolina faithful when he hinted at a possible Mike Wallace signing while he was at the NFL combine. A classic situation of the Panthers setting expectations that they have no business living up to. Wallace is now with the Miami Dolphins and is over $30M richer for signing his name on the contract.
Once news broke of former owner Jerry Richardson lying about funds, I immediately felt bad for the Panthers fans who bought into this franchise in recent years.
It could be worse for the Panthers as they have won big in the last two drafts with a Rookie of the Year coming from each of the last two drafts. Cam Newton was the offensive ROY in 2011, but the concern is what the team will do when his contract is up after the 2013 season. If the Charlotte spotlight isn’t bright enough for the former Auburn Tiger the Panthers may be out of a quarterback.
Panthers fans are upset about not making moves in a weak free agent class–could you imagine how they would feel if Newton decided to skip town? Yikes.