The RFA situation with Charles Johnson and Deangelo Williams is brilliant. The team announced today they'd place RFA on both, an unprecedented move.
The team apparently can't put either on transition tag (which would essentially only guarantee right of refusal on matching contracts) since they don't have 6 years accrued. The RFA situation applies only to the CBA as it sat for 2010 (before that it only applied to players with three years experience; last year, the uncapped situation pushed it to 4th and 5th year players).
At best, it shows a commitment that already existed - a commitment to keep both players. Since it's doubtful players will allow themselves to vote in a situation where players over 4 years have less rights on their freedom, the RFA tags will have no real bearing. Only way I'd anticipate that? If, at the last minute, both sides agree to continue 2011 under 2010 rules, which I've never heard actually suggested by either side.
Given that the CBA has caused Carolina infinite amounts of problems (forcing them to not extend youth, their mantra; forcing huge cap hits on players they'd otherwise cut; forcing a huge purge in 2010), it's good to see them push the envelope on what they can do with the lack of a new CBA, for once.
Various league sources suggest that the Panthers will tender more players - most of their 28 free agents are under 6 years experience - and that other teams may follow suit. It'd be smart to not deliberate extensively over who to tender, however, since again this seems to be a temporary move that won't matter.