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Thursday, March 7, 2013

Senn Signs: Logjam at LB

Special teamer Jordan Senn signed a one year deal with Carolina before
free agency.

Media calls special teams a strength, and Senn was a captain for the
unit last year (it didn't feel like a strength, but apparently, a lot of
improvement happened after Richard Rodgers' somewhat rocky start). Senn
made 15 open field tackles, adding 9 as a reserve LB.

Senn's in his fifth year here, coming aboard mid-2009 to help salvage a
terrible special teams unit. It's anticipated he's playing on a minimum
deal. It's a fairly smart move, wrapping up their special teams ace at
a low price and aiming for continuity in the third phase of football.
If Carolina can build on last year, and find a better way to stop the
run, they can start controlling the pace of games.

Senn joins a logjam at LB - rookie of the year Luke Kuechly is in the
middle; they return three other multiyear starters in Jon Beason, Thomas
Davis, and James Anderson. Right now, it doesn't appear any are due to
be cut - it would cost for Beason and Davis, Anderson would only save
$200,000 unless he was cut as a June exemption (moving $2.8 million into

So, assuming none of them get cut, then you have 5 guys locked in.
Special teamer Kenny Onatolu would look endangered at that point,
making $775,000. Not a ridiculous amount, but five veteran linebackers
would appear to be enough, and they would anticipate getting special
teams work out of whichever linebacker isn't starting at OLB.

In addition, the team has Jason Phillips as a free agent, who I'd say
isn't expected to return. Phillips has earned his opportunity, winning
a job in camp and then leading the team in special teams tackles (16).
But there isn't cap space or even just room on the roster for six or
seven veteran LB. Inevitably, with 5 experienced guys, the 6th (and if
needed, 7th) guy would need to be an inexpensive young guy.

So, while many positions remain talent poor - currently, DT, CB, OL, TE
are works in progress - LB looks all but settled six months in advance.
Pending where they put Jon Beason and assuming he's in full health.
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