Panthers Rumors: Gross, Hardy, Draft

With the combine now underway in Indianapolis, we’ve covered a significant number of the NFL’s 32 teams in at least one of our Thursday posts, but we’ve yet to mention the Panthers at all today. Let’s remedy that, and check out what GM Dave Gettleman had to say about the team’s offseason during his media availability….

  • Offensive tackle Jordan Gross has had two lengthy conversations with Gettleman since the season ended, but remains undecided on whether or not he’ll continue his playing career, writes Joseph Person of the Charlotte Observer. Gettleman, who will speak to Gross again when he returns from an Idaho ski trip within the next few days, said that the veteran lineman has “earned the right” to take his time to make a decision on his future, though if he decides to return to Carolina, there will be salary cap ramifications for the team to consider.
  • Within the same piece, Person writes that the future of longtime Panthers receiver Steve Smith is “part of the evaluation process,” according to Gettleman. The GM hasn’t had any conversations with Smith about the possibility of retirement.
  • Asked about free-agent-to-be Greg Hardy, Gettleman pointed to the Panthers’ cap constraints and suggested that the team will be very careful about committing big money to its standout defensive end, either on a long-term deal or via the franchise tag. Jonathan Jones of the Charlotte Observer has the GM’s quotes.
  • Person got the impression from listening to Gettleman that the Panthers will be more inclined to sign one-year contracts than multiyear deals going forward (Twitter link).
  • Gettleman warned against tying the Panthers to a specific player or position in mock drafts, telling reporters, including Ian Rapoport of (Twitter link), that the club will take the best player available in May.
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