As Carolina nears the start of the 2010 fiscal year, here's a quick analysis of their unrestricted free agents.
Julius Peppers - Peppers was free to leave when he didn't receive the franchise tag this week. Peppers may be the biggest free agent available this year, and certainly the biggest Carolina will have let go (he's the first tagged player to leave the Panthers within the year he's tagged). At 30, and with his history of possibly taking plays off, Peppers may not be the highest paid free agent however.
Muhsin Muhammad - Clearly, Moose has some left to give. His age (he's exactly a year younger than the franchise itself) is concerning, but he still caught over 50 balls last year in a terrible pass offense.
Keydrick Vincent - A 10 year veteran at guard, Vincent was the 2008 sweepstakes winner of veterans vying for the job. However, he gets turned in pass protection, which leads to penalties. He was the 7th best lineman we had, the worst of the starting five and not better than reserves Schwartz and Bernadeau.
Hollis Thomas - The exuberant 14 year DT helped against the run - a lot, actually. He's huge, and he stopped the bleeding. Still, he doesn't fit the scheme well, and we're deep at DT (if not exceptionally talented).
Josh McCown - the Dolph Lundgren look-alike is the most efficient of the Carolina QBs. He's had big passing days, but never has turned the corner to become a bigger player. The team likes him, and he beat out Matt Moore.
Restricted and Exclusive-rights free agents have to be tendered offers by 3/4, Thursday.
Analysis of the group at large:
A lot of veteran depth, especially on the lines, might be walking out the door. The team has a good, young core there, but on a team lacking in as much veteran leadership as in the past, it's hard to suggest they can let all of their leaders go.