Deangelo Williams was placed on injured reserve with half the season to go, signaling the effective end of the Panthers' 2010 season.
The season was doomed from the start, apparently, but this seals it - there's no turnaround this year, no miracle at the end of the story. With eight losses and this many people out of the game, Carolina's just playing out the year.
And with that, so is John Fox. There's no realistic way he returns, and just out of attrition there's hardly anyone who would stay as an assistant. Marty Hurney is all but guaranteed to hire the next coach, and should stay on for a while.
But the Panthers have plenty of free agent players, none more paramount than Williams himself.
So pretty much after the NFL locks down a labor deal, Williams will be the next one on the list - one way or another. If there's a franchise tag with the new CBA, and free agency were to start quickly after a CBA signing, Williams would undoubtedly be the top priority.