A byproduct of the Panthers' receivers heading elsewhere, along with some of the bigger names signing?
Sure, Carolina lacks a lot of leverage. They need you.
But you know what? You need them. Teams' veteran needs for hands are drying up. You can't be guaranteed much. Brandon LaFell, for instance, spent 2/3rds of his time on the field in the slot and a significant amount of his production, and went to a team that has two slot receivers and a young draft pick.
So, consequently, former Packer James Jones is talking up Carolina.
Specifically, he was quoted: "I would love to play for the Carolina Panthers. I would love to play with Cam Newton."
Allright. That's more like it. With the recent cuts/free agents and then everyone's favorite would've-been Panther Hakeem Nicks calling it the wrong fit, the media went in all kinds of directions, and fans even more so. Is Carolina viable? Does anyone care? Do players hate Dave Gettleman? and then, quietly, do players want to play with Cam Newton?
This puts some of that to bed. Of course, Nicks wanted more money and got them in incentives. There's no reason players would outright ignore Carolina. Fans have to get rid of this cognitive dissonance and man up. Stop asking if you're worthy. That's not how football works. Leave that part to Jacksonville's sports psychologist.
Jones is 29, 6'1/210, and is a valuable player for those intermediate routes and will get you 50 receptions/5 TDs or so in a crowded receiving corps like Green Bay's. He could be more powerful in Carolina in ways, since as of yet only Greg Olsen is proven as a threat, and he's a tight end. Of course, the Green Bay scheme and array of receivers leaves individual receivers often wanting more. His 14 TDs in 2012 should be considered an outlier but it's not a complete abberation, with 7, 5, and 5 in the three before (he had 3 last season).
Of course, that's talk. More concretely, former Jet/Steeler Jerricho Cotchery is visiting Monday. Cotchery's 10 TDs last year were also an outlier (he had 20 in a total of 9 years before that). 31, he's got more miles than most, but was only a starter for a full 4 years, roleplaying most of the rest. He's the type that, if you can find a good player for the slot, he's the player that can take that part-time outside role.
It's certainly not that Boldin/Fitzgerald duo, but I'd take either, and if it ended up that way, both would be fine, too.