I'm a long-standing proponent of not using restricted free agency - a
way of dealing with players that have 3 years experience and don't have
a contract. It's often detrimental to the cap, paying a guy you might
or might not keep a million and change (and it's been a while since a
Panther RFA was a starter), all to have no security on the player again
next year. They've gotten a pick here and there (Ricky Manning, Jr for
instance) but it's just generally bad business.
It appears that Carolina goes through another RFA season unscathed, and
they're very unlikely to sign anyone (last RFA I can remember Carolina
signing? Patrick Jeffers in 1999). Since there's a week worth of time
to match (since any tendered player may require exchange of draft pick),
Carolina would only have two days left to tender anyone.
They don't have a ton of cap space, and they honestly don't have the
draft picks. With six picks, dropping one on a player would be highly
So, that part is covered, once again. Granted, they weren't going to
drop a 3rd (that they don't have) on Emmanuel Sanders. There really
aren't any RFAs that you'd have to have.
The more interesting part, to me, is that RFA is going away. Since the
new CBA (pertaining to 2011 draft picks and newer) gives any draftee
essentially a four year deal anyway, the 2010 class (the lesser of which
would've gotten two or three year deals) is now in year four. These are
the last players for at least the next seven years (remaining duration
on the CBA) that would have been RFAs. And I'm OK with that. There's
no real reason to have right of first refusal on young players anymore.
There aren't other contracts like that in this league anymore.