Dead Money: $250,000
Cap Savings: $1,915,625
There are some cuts that will be harder than others but in terms of savings and value to the team, this should be an easy one for the Panthers. DeCoud signed a two-year deal with Carolina last season after starting his career with the Atlanta Falcons. He was expected to be the team’s starter alongside veteran safety Roman Harper, another free agent signing before last season.
DeCoud didn’t make it through the whole season as the starter though after suffering an injury Week 13 against the Minnesota Vikings. He was replaced by rookie Tre Boston in that game and was never able to regain the starting role. The fact that he would only cost the Panthers $250,000 in dead money compared to almost $2 million in cap saving means DeCoud seems to be a likely candidate to be cut.
Dead Money: $507,655
Cap Savings: $1,063,242
This is another move that seems to be a no-brainer for the Carolina Panthers. Amini Silatolu started the year as the team’s starting left guard however was forced to the sideline after suffering an injury. He was replaced by undrafted rookie Andrew Norwell, who played very well in his absence.
Silatolu had a chance later in the season to get back into the starting lineup when he was considered a candidate to replace the injured Nate Chandler at right tackle. However, he was not able to stay healthy during practices and the team decided to go with Mike Remmers.
Silatolu is heading into his final season of his rookie contract and even though he is only 26 years of age, the Panthers seem set at the guard positions with rookies Norwell and Trai Turner playing very in 2014.
Dead Money: $300,000
Cap Savings: $1,500,000
This is one move that will not be as easy to make compared to the first two players named. The reason being was that Harper played the whole season and was an excellent veteran presence for a young, inexperienced secondary. The problem is that Harper will be 33 years old by the end of the 2015 season and there has to be some concern about how much he has left in the tank.
If the team does decide to make this move he would have to be designated as a post-June 1 cut because of how the contract is structured. Harper signed a five-year deal before last season with a void provision after this upcoming season. If the Panthers decided to cut him right now, the dead money would actually be $1.2 million compared to only $600,000 in cap savings.
While it may make financial sense for the Panthers to cut Harper if they need more cap space but Harper did prove he could still play at a high level last year. The veteran presence alone is worth enough to keep him on the roster for this upcoming season.
Dead Money: $1,000,000
Cap Space: $2,425,000
This is another move that is a complete toss-up and could make sense either way. On the one hand, Tolbert is getting up there in age and will be crossing the dreaded 30-year old mark for running backs. He is in his final year of his contract and would give the Panthers the most cap space of any of the players listed.
On the other hand, Tolbert does a lot of the little things that will make an offense successful. He is an excellent blocker, both running and passing, can pick up those tough short-yardage situations and is a reliable pass catcher out of the backfield. There is certainly still a value that Tolbert can bring to this offense on the field. If the organization wants to get younger in the backfield though, Tolbert may be looking for a new team this offseason.
*All contract numbers courtesy of OvertheCap.com