Anyone with stock in the Carolina Panthers is begging general manager David Gettleman to do something about the team’s wide receiving corps — or lack there of, actually. Carolina decided to part ways with long-time stalwart Steve Smith on Thursday and now the Panthers’ reported replacement for Smith is a member of the Indianapolis Colts.
With ties to the New York Giants, many NFL fans figured Gettleman would pluck 26-year-old Hakeem Nicks from the free agent market and make him Carolina’s top wideout. Again, it will be rather hard for the Panthers to do that considering Nicks signed a one-year deal with Indy on Friday. Now, Carolina is forced to go back to the drawing board in an attempt to give quarterback Cam Newton a puncher’s chance under center. Unfortunately, it’s not going to be very easy.
In fact, Brandon LaFell is also on the free agent market and he has been getting strong consideration from teams like the New England Patriots, Denver Broncos and New York Jets. Sure, LaFell and Smith aren’t exactly All-Pro caliber receivers, but the fact Carolina is willing to just let these guys go with no real replacement plan has to trouble Panthers fans. Thankfully, Gettleman will be able to improve the wide receiver position via the 2014 NFL Draft, but the extremely-dynamic wideouts of the draft are usually off the board come the 28th-overall pick.
Needless to say, the Panthers’ wide receivers will be a group to watch this offseason.