NFL Carolina Panthers

5 Free Agents The Carolina Panthers Should Re-Sign This Offseason

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Decision Making Time For Panthers

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The Carolina Panthers are dealing with the issues that wining teams have to face every year. Do you keep the current roster or try to improve?

This was a great season on so many levels for the Panthers, and now they are forced to make major decisions regarding their roster. We all know changes are needed. They need a major upgrade on the offensive side of the ball where the receivers are either old or too inconsistent. The running backs need better blocking in order to take pressure off of Cam Newton next season.

While many think the Panthers should be big free-agent players this offseason the fans have to realize that the Panthers' books are loaded until 2015. There really is no money to spend on outside help. They will have to get very creative and hope they can get a few hometown discounts from current players.

This is what happens when you win in the NFL. Players want to come and play for a winner, but most importantly your own free agents want to stay and finish what they started. General manager Dave Gettleman has the tough job of deciding who stays and who goes. The Panthers have several key free agents of their own to deal with before they can think about bringing in some outside help to get this team over the hump and marching towards that Super Bowl appearance.

Here is a list of the five players the Panthers must re-sign before searching for that outside help.

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5. Graham Gano

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All they do is kick the ball, right?. Graham Gano is also a valuable asset and weapon to this team. He was 24-for-27 on field goals including 6-for-6 from 50 yards or longer. That is a weapon, ladies and gentleman. You let him go, and you are grasping at straws trying to find a replacement. If you have a good placekicker you have to lock him up.

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4. Ted Ginn

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Ted Ginn is not the best receiver on the market, but he proved during the last part of the season he can produce if given the opportunity. With Brandon LaFell not capable of holding down the second receiver position I think the Panthers should look into giving that spot to Ginn. The Panthers will have two speedy receivers, and if they decide to bring in some outside help then he can slide into the slot position where he can be a faster version of Wes Welker.

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3. Captain Munnerlyn

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Captain Munnerlyn is not one of the best cornerbacks in the league, but he fits the Panthers' defensive scheme and he should be re-signed. He said he is open to a one-year deal, but the Panthers should be trying to lock him up for much longer. Good corners are hard to find these days, and we are talking about the second-ranked defense in the NFL. He doesn’t get many interceptions, but when he does he takes them to the house. He is a good cover corner, and the Panthers will be kicking themselves if they let this guy walk.

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2. Greg Hardy

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The Panthers defense was outstanding this season, and Greg Hardy was one of the many standouts from that unit. Linebackers are taught but lineman are born. Hardy is only 25-years-old and entering his fifth year in the league. The last two seasons he has recorded 26 sacks, and you think the Panthers are just going to let that type of production walk out the door? Hardy has gone on record as saying he will give the Panthers a hometown discount if they were to re-sign him. The guy doesn’t want to leave so why should the Panthers wait any longer in having him sign on the dotted line?

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1. Jordan Gross

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I moved to Carolina a year before they got the team, and I remember when they drafted Jordan Gross. He has anchored the line for over a decade, and the Panthers have had some no-name running backs reach 1,000 yards and no-name quarterbacks like Jake Delhomme look like All-Pro players. So if anyone says that an offensive lineman is not that important then look no further than the success of the Panthers and Gross. He is a must re-sign even if it's for one year while he decides if he wants to retire. He has earned that right.