Panthers Rumors

Panthers Won’t Trade Future First Rounder

In his first run as the Panthers’ GM, Marty Hurney made a habit of trading future first-round picks in order to move up the board. In this year’ s draft, he vows that there won’t be a repeat. 

[RELATED: Panthers Sign Greg Olsen To Extension]

I can tell you right now that you can consider next year’s first-round pick safe,” Hurney told David Mayo of The Associated Press. “… We will probably be getting calls, so if you can just tweet that out.

In 2008, Hurney traded away the team’s 2009 first-round choice to select offensive tackle Jeff Otah with the No. 19 pick. Then, in 2009, he traded the team’s 2010 first-round selection to get defensive end Everette Brown in the second round. Neither move paid dividends for Carolina, which might explain the change in his philosophy.

You step back and look at some of the things you have done,” Hurney said. “You look at what you did and what you can do better. You also look at what you did well.”

The Panthers own four picks in the first three rounds this year: the No. 24 overall pick, their original second round pick (No. 55 overall), a third round pick from the Bills acquired in the Kelvin Benjamin trade (No. 85), and their original third round pick (No. 88).

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Panthers Sign Greg Olsen To Extension

Panthers tight end Greg Olsen has landed a new contract. The veteran is signing a two-year extension worth $17.1MM that could be worth as much as $20.1MM, Adam Schefter of ESPN.com tweets. If Olsen nails his incentives, he’ll edge Jimmy Graham as the league’s highest-paid player at the position. 

Olsen flirted with the idea of transitioning into TV this offseason and even auditioned for ESPN’s vacant color commentary role on Monday Night Football. His new and improved contract will keep him out of the broadcast booth, at least for now.

My preference would be to know my future here in Carolina past this year, if I’m being honest. Whether or not that happens, we’ll see,” Olsen said earlier this month. “But that would be the ideal situation and then that would answer a lot of these unknown questions.”

Olsen has some questions of his own to answer after injuries slowed him in 2017. Olsen reeled off three straight 1,000-yard seasons from 2014-16 and pushed hard for a new contract before last season. In 2017, he was limited to just seven games and he totaled less than 200 yards receiving.

The Panthers retooled their receiving group a bit this year by adding Torrey Smith and Jarius Wright. Still, Olsen projects to serve as one of Cam Newton‘s favorite targets once again in 2018.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Browns, Colts Lead League In Cap Space

The Browns and Colts have the most cap room of any team in the NFL heading into draft, as Field Yates of ESPN.com (on Twitter) notes. Here’s the official rundown of every team’s cap space for 2018 on the eve of draft weekend:

  1. Browns – $69.5MM
  2. Colts – $59.8MM
  3. 49ers – $43.8MM
  4. Titans – $35.8MM
  5. Texans -$35.6MM
  6. Bears – $24.1MM
  7. Jets – $21.9MM
  8. Bills – $19.4MM
  9. Jaguars – $18.6MM
  10. Cardinals – $18.1MM
  11. Redskins -$17.1MM
  12. Bengals – $16.8MM
  13. Packers – $16.2MM
  14. Vikings – $15.5MM
  15. Broncos – $14.6MM
  16. Patriots – $13.8MM
  17. Buccaneers – $12.3MM
  18. Cowboys -$11.9MM
  19. Chargers – $11.4MM
  20. Lions – $9.4MM
  21. Giants -$9.4MM
  22. Ravens – $8.8MM
  23. Seahawks – $7.6MM
  24. Chiefs – $6.7MM
  25. Saints – $5.7MM
  26. Panthers – $5.2MM
  27. Dolphins – $2.9MM
  28. Eagles – $2.2MM
  29. Steelers – $2MM
  30. Raiders – $1.8MM
  31. Falcons – $1.3MM
  32. Rams – $264K

Mark Richardson Has Favorite To Take Over As Panthers Owner

  • Mark Richardson, son of Panthers owner Jerry Richardson — and part of the team’s current ownership group — told Joseph Person of the Charlotte Observer that Charlotte businessman Ben Navarro is his favorite amongst the list of candidates to potentially take over as the team’s owner. Jerry Richardson, the only owner in the franchise’s history, announced in December that he would be selling the team after Sports Illustrated outlined sexual and racial misconduct throughout his tenure. Mark Richardson said he’d consider remaining on as a limited partner with the Panthers if Navarro won the bid.

Panthers In Talks With QB Derek Anderson

The door remains open for a Derek Anderson return in Charlotte. The Panthers are in talks with the quarterback, GM Marty Hurney tells reporters (Twitter link via Joseph Person of the Charlotte Observer). However, Hurney cited former Packers GM Ron Wolf’s belief that teams should take a quarterback in every draft, so it’s not a given that Anderson will return. Even if he does, he might not handed the No. 2 job behind Cam Newton

Aside from starter Cam Newton, the only other signal callers on Carolina’s roster are Garrett Gilbert and Taylor Heinicke. Combined, they have thrown exactly one NFL pass. That attempt belongs to Heinicke, who threw one pass for the Texans in relief of T.J. Yates against the Steelers in December. On the second drive of his career, Heinicke suffered a head injury as he was sacked and had to be taken off of the field.

Anderson has 76 career NFL appearances under his belt, but the Panthers can’t be blamed for exploring other backstops as he nears his 35th birthday. The veteran made a name for himself in 2007 when he led the Browns to a 10-5 record in his 15 starts, but he has not seen consistent action since his 2010 campaign with the Cardinals. For the last seven years, he has serve as Newton’s understudy.

Anderson’s last deal paid him $2.25MM per year and it stands to reason that he could earn a bit less on a new pact with the Panthers.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

WR Tyler Gaffney Returns To Baseball

You won’t be seeing Tyler Gaffney on the pages of Pro Football Rumors, but you may find him on MLB Trade Rumors in time. The former Panthers, Patriots, and Jaguars wide receiver is going back to baseball, as MLB.com’s Adam Berry writes. 

My dream has been the big leagues my whole life,” Gaffney said. “I think I’ve been tasting that every time I was hurt. You have time to think about things like that. So now I’m here, putting in my work. Now I’m here, five years later. I think the last couple years took their toll on my body. The heart wanted it. The body didn’t. I’m finally able to come back to baseball, the sport I love.

Gaffney was drafted by the Pirates in 2012 and played in their minor league system for a summer before returning to Stanford to play football. He is now returning to the Pirates to pursue his MLB dreams, starting with the Bradenton Pirates of the Florida State League.

Gaffney held promise as a sixth-round pick with the Panthers, but injuries prevented him from doing much on the field. Although he never recorded an official statistic, he does own two Super Bowl rings thanks to his time with the Pats.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

What's Hurting Tre Boston's Market?

Safety Tre Boston remains unsigned and Joe Person of the Charlotte Observer wonders if the Chargers free agent’s history of social activism is hampering his market. Much has been written about Eric Reid‘s ongoing unemployment, but Boston was fairly outspoken following the shooting death of Keith Lamont Scott by a Charlotte police officer two years ago while with the Panthers. For his part, Boston isn’t sure that his public stance in 2016 is working against him.

Minor NFL Transactions: 4/17/18

Today’s minor moves:

Atlanta Falcons

Baltimore Ravens

Buffalo Bills

Carolina Panthers

Chicago Bears

Green Bay Packers

Los Angeles Rams

New York Jets

Seattle Seahawks

Panthers’ Greg Olsen Seeking New Contract

For the second offseason in a row, Panthers tight end Greg Olsen is looking for a new contract. In an interview with Joseph Person of the Charlotte Observer, Olsen indicated that he wants a contract that will take him beyond the 2018 season. 

My preference would be to know my future here in Carolina past this year, if I’m being honest. Whether or not that happens, we’ll see,” Olsen said. “But that would be the ideal situation and then that would answer a lot of these unknown questions.”

Last year, made waves when he auditioned to become an analyst for ESPN’s Monday Night Football. Panthers officials believed that Olsen was looking into the position for something down the road, but that timeline could conceivably be accelerated if Olsen doesn’t get the revised contract he wants.

The reality of it is there’s not a lot of those jobs out there and when they ask you to come in and go through that audition process and go through those motions, it’s a great opportunity,” Olsen said. “My mind and my prep has always been on playing. But the reality is those jobs do get your attention a little bit and you’ve at least got to look behind the curtain.”

Last year, Olsen pushed for an extension that would give him a raise over the remainder of his three-year, $22.5MM deal. At one point, he even intimated that he would consider staying home during training camp. Ultimately, he showed up for work and got some incentives added to his deal that could have given him an additional $2MM in 2018. Unfortunately, a broken foot prevented the tight end from reaching those bonuses.

For now, Olsen is under contract for one more year with a cap hit of $9.75MM.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.