NFL Carolina Panthers

5 Carolina Panthers Who Must Be Kicked To The Curb Before Free Agency

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5 Carolina Panthers Who Must Be Kicked To The Curb Before Free Agency

Carolina Panthers NFL Free Agency
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The Carolina Panthers are in a tough spot with the salary cap this offseason. Because they have given out so many bad deals, they find themselves unable to being back almost any of their quality players who are eligible for free agency.

One of the best surprises of the season last year, the Panthers made the playoffs and appear to be one of the teams on the rise in the NFL. But with their cap situation, it will be hard to them to put enough quality players around franchise quarterback Cam Newton to repeat the success they had last year.

Carolina is a perfect example of why you have to be careful about how you dole out your cap money. They gave too much guaranteed money away, and now they have very little options at their disposal to clear up any cap space to keep the players they need to keep. Instead, they’re going to be left with a team that is a shell of what it was last year.

The Panthers are going to need to send several of their unsigned players out the door without even offering them a deal. This is what happens when you don’t manage your cap money well.

Not only are the Panthers going to be forced to watch some good players go in free agency, but they also need to make a couple of hard cuts. Two players on this list have been contributors in the past, but they are some of the only players who can be let go to clear up some space without leaving the Panthers high and dry.

Carolina had a great season, but it could end up just being a mirage after they let these five players walk heading into free agency.

Ben Sullivan is an NFL writer for Follow him on Twitter @bensullivan52, "Like" him on Facebook and add him to your network on Google.

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5. Travelle Wharton

Travelle Wharton Carolina Panthers
Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sports

Offensive guard Travelle Wharton has started over 100 games for the Panthers since 2004, but he's getting older and the team can't afford to keep him around. He might have some good football left in him, but it won't be in a Carolina uniform.

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4. Charles Godfrey

Charles Godfrey Carolina Panthers
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Charles Godfrey has been a solid safety for the Panthers since they took him in the third round of the 2008 draft, but this year he comes with a $7.1 million cap hit. That's way too much for a safety in the NFL. The Panthers need to clear cap money, and Godfrey is one of their only good options.

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3. Quintin Mikell

Quintin Mikell Carolina Panthers
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The Panthers brought veteran safety Quintin Mikell in to fill a need in the defensive backfield. But by the end of the season, injuries and the improved play of undrafted rookie free agent Robert Lester had him sitting on the bench.

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2. Mike Tolbert

Mike Tolbert Carolina Panthers
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This is a tough one, but with the Carolina salary cap being so bad you need to get rid of some cap space. Mike Tolbert, a good fullback and a great goal line back, comes with a $3.35 million cap number this season. The Panthers already have too much money locked up in their running backs; they just can't afford to keep Tolbert around anymore.

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1. Greg Hardy

Greg Hardy Carolina Panthers
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And this is the toughest one to see go. Greg Hardy is an elite pass rusher heading into his prime. There is no reason why the Panthers should be letting him go in free agency, but they have no choice; they just have no way of affording him under the salary cap.