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Thursday, February 7, 2013

WR Focus: FA

It's a passing league. Say what you will about what Mike Shula will do
- we really don't know - but this offense, chances are, will still rely
on Cam Newton's comfortability in shotgun and feature a healthy dose of
spread. It's a passing league.

So Carolina's gotta land that vet wide receiver, this time.

Under Marty Hurney and Ron Rivera, there was a propensity to be the
other team in negotiations. 2011 saw the team miss on guys like Santana
Moss, and potentially a few others including Malcolm Floyd; Moss, the
most documented case, was offered a deal equal to the Redskins but
couldn't close. Down to minimal options, the Panthers took on Legedu
Naanee and Seyi Ajirotutu, a pair of Chargers castoffs.

Last year, the team took a run at Jacoby Jones, apparently offering an
equal contract to the Ravens, and missing out. Lacking many options,
the team dropped a 7th round pick on Louis Murphy as a vet after trading
up to get WR/returner Joe Adams in the 4th. Neither gave significant
production. Murphy, per profootballfocus, ended up with fewer yards per
route run than anyone else in the league, and Adams was benched
midseason.

It's time to stop missing out. It's time to stop patching things up.
It's time to

Now, this comes with a caveat. Steve Smith is still and will stay the
focus. Greg Olsen really can't be utilized less. Whoever comes aboard,
fights with Brandon LaFell for time and for targets. The team doesn't
even look to have that much money. Numerous attempts at finding youth
for the job have fallen somewhat short (outside of LaFell, and a pretty
good rookie year by David Gettis). Piling on more draftees isn't the
way to go right now.

So, no Dwayne Bowe (not that I find him worthy). I'd look for a
roleplayer - someone who might be able to supplant LaFell's time in the
slot, for instance, and let him work the outside in 3 WR situations
again. LaFell has shown to be the player the team's going to put in
the slot most often, and yet he's also shown to be his best in deeper
and sideline shots where he can separate in shorter space or box out.

Right now, the free agent market doesn't look great for that roleplayer
(Brian Hartline, Danny Amendola fit a very specific type, and I'm not
that interested). But, the team needs a veteran hand in there. It's
time to stop letting them get away.
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