Carolina Panthers Free Agent Confidential

With one hundred and eight million already committed to the 2009 cap, it appears the Panthers will have to part with one or quite possibly both of their top young football players. Long time talent evaluator Tom Marino feels it's a no brainer and shares his thoughts with the readers at

Carolina Panthers

Peppers, Julius DE 6 14,137,500 GOLD
Gross, Jordan OT 5 7,460,000 GOLD
Hangartner, Geoff OC 3 1422,500 PURPLE
Seward, Adam LB 3 932,500 BLACK
Kyle, Jason LS 13 911,500 ORANGE
Walker, Darwin DT 8 851,500 ORANGE
Curry, Donte' LB 7 752,000 ORANGE
Omiyale, Frank OT 3 526,000 BLACK
Jones, Mark WR 4 445,000 ORANGE

Top Free Agent - Julius Peppers

Starters - Two

Must Re-Sign - Jordan Gross

Team Top FA Need - OG, QB, DT

Comments - The league puts a very high priority on free agent defensive ends, but even a higher priority on the people who block them and ultimately protect their quarterbacks backside. Jordan Gross was franchised in 2008 and although the Panthers would consider doing so once again, they would love to obviously tie him up to a long term deal. Peppers is a premium pass rusher, but it is highly unlikely the Panthers can retain his services. Given the choice of retaining one of these two high profile players, I believe there is little doubt that Gross is the more important of the two, the better team player and easily the most consistant. I've seen the very gifted Peppers play some impressive games over the years, but I've also saw him totally dominated; as was the case in this years match up against Denver rookie tackle Ryan Clady. The rest of the group are second level free agents and although none are totally essential, the club would like to have Omiyale, Stewart and Jones back for the 2009 season.

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