As far at the 2014 season is concerned, the Carolina Panthers have two chances to restructure their team needs. The first chance is free agency, and the second is the NFL Draft. Panthers GM Dave Gettleman has said multiple times the Panthers are scouting for two positions, WR and OT. The Panthers desperately need to fill the holes left by retirements and their free agents.
To do this, Carolina is looking for a solid, heavy receiver who will assist Cam Newton’s short yardage game (barring Steve Smith being on the team in 2014), as well as a new tackle who can help anchor a weak offensive line. If the Panthers want to make the most of their situation, which they undoubtedly do, their method of signing new players should be a fairly obvious one. They need to take a tackle during free agency, and then get a receiver early in the NFL Draft.
While they have one of the lowest picks in the first round, Carolina will still have many solid wide receiver options coming out of the draft. The same is not true of the free agent market. While there are many good players available, most of the ones Carolina would want are out of their price range.
As such, with only $8 million in spending money, they should make a move to sign an able-bodied, strong tackle to bolster their offensive line. This would fill a need for the Panthers, and would allow them to then focus their draft pick on a wide receiver. Targeting a WR in free agency would not only cost more cap room, but also force the Panthers to take a much-needed tackle during the draft, where the options are not as great. However, because of the surplus of solid WRs, the draft allows more options than free agency does.
This would fill both needs for the team, while also allowing them to build a stronger offense around Newton, which gives them a shot as getting back to the top of their division in 2014.