I got really fired up the other day when I logged into my ESPN insider account and read how Matt Williamson gave the Panthers the worst grade for Free Agency this year, a D.
He mentions that we overspent last year and that we lost 4 key players (Connor, Schwartz, Bernadeu, Wharton). He mentions that we only signed two players (Tolbert and Hangartner). He quite simply misses the boat on critical roster analysis.
1)I acknowledge the fact that Connor leaving leaves a big hole. One which must be addressed in the first or second round of the draft this year. I truly believe LB is our biggest need.
2)So we lost three guys on the offensive line. But, I am not sweating those lossses at all. We didn't need to go out there and sign a top FA guard. We picked up a very solid vet in Pollack and furthermore traded for Campbell during the FA period. Adding those two players to a rotation that featured 3 very promising rookies last year means we were smarter than other teams in FA regarding our O-Line.
3)We addressed a major need that has been overlooked for two seasons now. A quality backup Safety to push Sherrod Martin. Martin has shown glimpses for me but I view him as a career backup safety not a starter, and I have secrelt hoped we give him a shot at CB where he played some in college. The signing of Nakumara was ingenious. He is one of surest tackling safeties out there and is a special teams dynamo. This brings me to point number...
4) We have killed it on Special Teams. It is all evry interesting to me that we chose to get special teams studs with NFL experience. To me this signals a few things. We signed guys with NFL experience to immediately correct those areas.
So in other words, the panthers have been deliberate in FA, they have signed players who compliment and immediately impact this team by making each unit better. Someone needs to explain to national analysts (except guys like Pat Kirwin and and a few others who actually understand football and the role of a GM and player personel mgmt) that it's not about over paying big name players.