Panthers Rumors

Panthers Sign TE Tommy Tremble, Wrap Up Draft Class

The Panthers have officially signed their entire draft class. The team announced the signing of third-round tight end Tommy Tremble this evening.

After not appearing in a game during his freshman season, Tremble saw time in 19 games for Notre Dame between 2019 and 2020. While he was mostly known for his blocking ability in college, he showed some flashes on offense, hauling in 35 receptions for 401 yards and four touchdowns. That performance led to him being selected in the third round (pick No. 83) of this year’s draft.

Tremble will be joining a depth chart that includes Ian Thomas, Dan Arnold, Colin Thompson, Giovanni Ricci, and Stephen Sullivan. As Darin Gantt of the team website writes, the rookie’s versatility should lead to playing time. Besides tight end, Tremble also has experience playing fullback, H-back, and special teams.

The Panthers have now officially inked each of their 11 rookies, tied for the largest draft class in team history. That grouping includes:

Round 1: No. 8 Jaycee Horn, CB (South Carolina)
Round 2: No. 59 (from Browns) Terrace Marshall Jr., WR (LSU)
Round 3: No. 70 (from Eagles) Brady Christensen, OT (BYU)
Round 3: No. 83 (from Bears) Tommy Tremble, TE (Notre Dame)
Round 4: No. 113 Chuba Hubbard, RB (Oklahoma State) (signed)
Round 5: No. 158 Daviyon Nixon, DT (Iowa) (signed)
Round 5: No. 166 (from Titans) Keith Taylor, CB (Washington) (signed)
Round 6: No. 204 (from Bears) Shi Smith, WR (South Carolina) (signed)
Round 6: No. 222 Thomas Fletcher, LS (Alabama) (signed)
Round 7: No. 232 (from Titans) Phil Hoskins, DT (Kentucky) (signed)

Ted Ginn Retires From NFL

Veteran wide receiver Ted Ginn has announced his retirement from football. Ginn, the No. 9 overall pick in 2007, enjoyed 14 seasons in the NFL with six different teams. 

It was a hard decision, but it was one that had to be made,” Ginn said at a Friday press conference (via News5 Cleveland). “I’ve been gone 20 years, not being able to have some of the joys that you’re supposed to have as a man —being able to enjoy your parents, being able to enjoy your kids, your wife and just yourself,” Ginn said.

Ginn’s blazing speed made him one of the most intriguing prospects in the ’07 class. He didn’t quite live up to all the hype, but he outlasted many of his first-round peers. Over time, Ginn found his footing as a return man, racking up seven touchdowns on special teams plus countless highlights.

Last year Ginn spent some time with the Bears but see much action in his six games. His last full season came in 2019 with the Saints, when he caught 30 passes for 421 yards and two touchdowns. After that, New Orleans signed Emmanuel Sanders, and Ginn was pushed out.

All in all, Ginn leaves football with 33 receiving touchdowns for the Dolphins, 49ers, Panthers (2x), Cardinals, Saints, and Bears. We here at PFR wish Ginn the best in retirement.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Panthers, Taylor Moton Agree To $72MM Deal

The Panthers and Taylor Moton have officially agreed to a new four-year, $72MM deal (Twitter link via NFL.com’s Ian Rapoport). The deal includes $43MM in guaranteed cash, putting Moton at the top of the market for right tackles. 

Moton is now one of the highest-paid players at his position, scoring long-term stability over his original one-year, $13.75MM tender. The 26-year-old (27 in August) has started 48 straight games at right tackle for the Panthers, with Pro Football Focus grading him as a top-20 tackle in each of those three campaigns. That included 2020, a season where the lineman ranked as a top-five right tackle. He also saw just one penalty called against him, an impressive feat given all those snaps. And, in 2019, he played on all but six of the Panthers’ plays.

Previously, we heard that the Panthers were a long ways from locking down their former second-round pick. Now, they’ve got him under contract for years to come. It’s a slightly shorter deal than Ryan Ramczyk’s recent pact with the Saints, but he’s not too far behind in terms of average annual value. Still, Ramczyk has the edge with his five-year, $96MM deal that includes $60MM in guarantees, good for a $19.2MM AAV. Eagles veteran Lane Johnson, meanwhile, is just behind with $55MM in guaranteed dollars.

Moton was the third offensive lineman to be tagged in team history. Now, just like left tackle Jordan Gross and center Ryan Kalil, he’s parlayed that into a long-term arrangement.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Latest On Extension Talks Between Taylor Moton, Panthers

Taylor Moton is prepared to play next season on the franchise tag. While the Panthers still have interest in extending the offensive tackle, ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler tweets that there’s still a “gap to bridge.”

Specifically, Moton’s willingness to play the 2021 campaign on the franchise tag provides his camp with a bit of leverage. Since the 26-year-old isn’t necessarily pushing for a long-term deal, he’s willing to engage in a staring contest in pursuit of his desired salary. With only a few days remaining before the deadline, it’s most likely Moton ends up playing on that one-year, ~$14MM deal.

The 27-year-old has started 48 straight games at right tackle for the Panthers, with Pro Football Focus grading Moton as a top-20 tackle in each of those three campaigns. That included a 2020 season where the lineman ranked as a top-five right tackle. The team slapped Moton with the franchise tag earlier this offseason, but it was believed the team was eyeing a long-term deal for the former second-round pick.

Ryan Ramczyk’s recent deal with New Orleans could certainly provide a basis for a Moton extension. Ramczyk inked a five-year, $96MM deal that included $60MM in guarantees. Ramczyk’s $19.2MM AAV makes him the NFL’s highest-paid right tackle, eclipsing a mark that was previously held by Eagles lineman Lane Johnson. Ramczyk’s $60MM guarantee also surpasses Johnson’s ($55MM), with the two players earning the distinction of being the only right tackles with guarantees surpassing $35MM. For comparison’s sake, Moton will earn around $13.7MM this upcoming season under the franchise tag.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

2021 Cap Space For All 32 NFL Teams

There are still plenty of quality free agents left on the board as we look ahead to training camp. Cornerback Steven Nelson, tackle Russell Okung, and longtime Legion of Boom leader Richard Sherman headline the list, along with accomplished edge rushers like Justin Houston, Melvin Ingram, and Olivier Vernon. That list will only grow larger, of course, as more teams shed veterans to redirect their funds elsewhere.

With that in mind, here’s a look at every NFL team’s cap situation, starting with the league-leading Jaguars:

  1. Jacksonville Jaguars — $32.7MM
  2. Denver Broncos — $28.9MM
  3. New York Jets — $28.5MM
  4. Cleveland Browns — $20.6MM
  5. Los Angeles Chargers — $19.9MM
  6. Detroit Lions — $17.9MM
  7. San Francisco 49ers — $17.8MM
  8. Cincinnati Bengals — $17.4MM
  9. Washington Football Team — $16.7MM
  10. Indianapolis Colts— $14.3MM
  11. Carolina Panthers— $14.3MM
  12. Minnesota Vikings — $13.5MM
  13. Pittsburgh Steelers — $13.1MM
  14. New England Patriots — $13.1MM
  15. New Orleans Saints — $11.4MM
  16. Arizona Cardinals — $11.3MM
  17. Buffalo Bills — $10.5MM
  18. Baltimore Ravens — $8.8MM
  19. Atlanta Falcons — $8.6MM
  20. Seattle Seahawks — $8.3MM
  21. Tennessee Titans — $8.3MM
  22. Kansas City Chiefs — $7.9MM
  23. Los Angeles Rams — $7MM
  24. Chicago Bears — $6MM
  25. Dallas Cowboys — $6MM
  26. Miami Dolphins — $5.3MM
  27. Green Bay Packers — $5MM
  28. Houston Texans — $5MM
  29. Las Vegas Raiders — $3.3MM
  30. Philadelphia Eagles — $3.2MM
  31. New York Giants — $2.4MM
  32. Tampa Bay Buccaneers — $489K

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Status Of 7 Remaining Franchise-Tagged Players

Ten players comprised this year’s franchise tag contingent — down from 14 in 2020. However, the Broncos, Cowboys and Giants reached extension agreements with their tagged players — Justin Simmons, Dak Prescott and Leonard Williams, respectively — to leave seven tag recipients unsigned entering July.

With the July 15 deadline to extend franchise-tagged players less than two weeks away, here is where things stand with the remaining members of the group:

WR Chris Godwin, Buccaneers

Rather than tag Shaquil Barrett for a second straight year, the Bucs cuffed Godwin at $15.9MM. The defending Super Bowl champions found room for Barrett and every other notable free agent they had this offseason, going into overdrive in their effort to defend their second championship. Like every other franchise-tagged player this year, Godwin has signed his tender. The former third-round pick has said he wants to stay in Tampa long-term. The Bucs have Mike Evans signed to a now-below-market deal ($16.5MM per year), so it will be interesting to see how they navigate negotiations with his less accomplished (but three years younger, at 25) sidekick.

S Marcus Maye, Jets

Tagged months after the Jets traded Jamal Adams, Maye has not exactly enjoyed a smooth negotiating process. Just before the Jets tagged Maye, his agent slammed the team for a lackluster effort to extend the four-year starter beforehand. The Jets have carried on negotiations since applying the tag and are believed to have been steadfast in this approach, but this has not necessarily translated to progress. These talks are expected to go down to the wire. Maye, 28, not signing an extension by July 15 would keep the Mike Maccagnan-era draft choice on the $10.6MM tag.

OT Taylor Moton, Panthers

While the Panthers’ left tackle position has been one of the toughest to fill over the past decade, Moton has locked down the team’s right tackle post. A 2017 second-round pick, Moton has not missed a game since debuting in Carolina’s lineup in Week 1 of the 2018 season. The Panthers have a new regime in place, but the Matt RhuleScott Fitterer duo hopes to extend Moton.

The right tackle market moved this week, with Ryan Ramczyk agreeing to a $19.2MM-per-year extension. Moton, 26, is not a candidate to top that, but he may be primed to fill the gap between the top tier (Ramczyk and $18MM-AAV Lane Johnson) and Jack Conklin‘s $14MM-AAV deal. Moton is attached to a $13.8MM franchise tender.

WR Allen Robinson, Bears

Tagged at a higher price ($17.98MM) than Godwin because of his previous contract, Robinson has been the Bears’ No. 1 option on offense for the past three years. This has not translated to harmony between he and the team. Robinson has expressed frustration with the Bears’ tactics during his lengthy extension talks, which date back to last year, and he at one point surfaced in trade rumors.

This will be the eighth-year veteran’s age-28 season. A long-term Robinson deal would pair well with Justin Fields‘ rookie contract, with no other Bears receiver making even midlevel money, but the former third-round pick did not sound especially confident a deal will be finalized by the deadline.

OT Cam Robinson, Jaguars

This might be the closest to a “prove it” tag in this year’s lot. The former second-round pick has recovered from the ACL tear that cost him 14 games in 2018, starting 30 over the past two seasons. But Robinson, 25, has yet to show he is among the better players at the left tackle position. Without a viable replacement lined up, the Jaguars tagged the Alabama alum at $13.8MM. It would make sense for the Urban Meyer regime to gauge Robinson’s contract-year performance and reassess the matter next year. Holding the most cap space in the NFL ($38MM), the Jags can afford to carry Robinson’s tag figure this season.

G Brandon Scherff, Washington

Washington and its top offensive lineman have been at this for a while. A 2015 first-round pick, Scherff has been eligible for an extension since the 2017 season ended. Instead, Washington has seen another tag situation near the point of no return. The four-time Pro Bowl guard has played on the fifth-year option and the franchise tag, pushing this year’s tag price to $18MM. A third tag is unrealistic, as the Kirk Cousins standoff showed, and no deal this month would push Scherff toward free agency in 2022. The team wants to extend the 29-year-old blocker, but it will almost certainly take a guard-record agreement to do so. Joe Thuney raised the position’s ceiling with a $16MM-AAV deal in March.

S Marcus Williams, Saints

The Saints’ salary cap tightrope walk included a $10.6MM Williams tag, completing an odyssey that began with the team $100MM-plus over this year’s reduced cap. With New Orleans already doing the rare fifth-year option restructure with Marshon Lattimore, a Williams extension would be the easiest way to create more cap room. The team checked the top item off its offeseason to-do list, the Ramcyzk extension, but it may well have either a Lattimore or Williams re-up in its near-future plans.

Part of New Orleans’ impact 2017 draft class, the 24-year-old safety has been a starter from Day 1. Even though Lattimore may be a higher extension priority, the team coming all the way back from $100MM over the cap to use a franchise tag illustrates its view of Williams’ work.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

No Players Planning To Opt Out Of 2021 Season?

Nearly 70 players opted out of the 2020 season, with some of the high-profile opt-outs’ decisions affecting teams’ plans going into that uncertain campaign. A more stable backdrop exists a year later, and the NFL may have its full workforce available as a result.

No buzz has emerged on a player opting out of the 2021 season, Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk notes. Last week, the NFL and NFLPA came to an agreement that secured another COVID-19 opt-out provision. Only players deemed high risks for developing complications from the coronavirus are eligible for the $350K payout, but with vaccines now in the equation, it is possible no player opts out by Friday’s 3pm CT deadline.

Several key players opted out in 2020. Dont’a Hightower and Patrick Chung were among the Patriots’ league-high seven opt-outs; the Bears lost nose tackle Eddie Goldman; the Chiefs lost longtime guard starter Laurent Duvernay-Tardif and starting running back Damien Williams; the Vikings lost recent nose tackle signee Michael Pierce; Giants left tackle Nate Solder sat out as well. This group, save for the now-retired Chung, has returned. (Goldman did not show for Bears minicamp, but the team expects him back for training camp.) However, many of the lower-profile players ended up being cut after their respective opt-out decisions. With effective vaccines now available, teams will likely be less understanding of players’ decisions to skip the season.

While a few players have expressed vaccine hesitancy, at least 65% of NFL players have received at least one vaccine dose. The Broncos, Dolphins, Saints and Steelers were close to or had surpassed the 85% mark late last week, according to ESPN.com’s Jeremy Fowler (on Twitter). The Jaguars and Panthers saw a spike in vaccines after the NFL announced this year’s virus protocols, which provide considerably more freedom for vaccinated players.

A few hours remain for players to notify teams they will skip this season, but opt-outs — decisions that cannot be changed after this afternoon’s deadline — do not look like a major issue for NFL franchises in 2021.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Panthers Hope To Sign Taylor Moton To Extension

The Saints and Ryan Ramczyk reset the market for right tackles earlier today, and that could pave the way for Taylor Moton‘s extension in Carolina. According to Joseph Person of The Athletic (via Twitter), the Panthers are hoping to complete a long-term deal with Moton before the July 15 deadline.

The team slapped Moton with the franchise tag earlier this offseason, but it was believed the team was eyeing a long-term deal for the former second-round pick. The 27-year-old has started 48 straight games at right tackle for the Panthers, with Pro Football Focus grading Moton as a top-20 tackle in each of those three campaigns. That included a 2020 season where the lineman ranked as a top-five right tackle.

Ramczyk’s new deal with New Orleans could certainly provide a basis for a Moton extension. Ramczyk inked a five-year, $96MM deal that included $60MM in guarantees. Ramczyk’s $19.2MM AAV makes him the NFL’s highest-paid right tackle, eclipsing a mark that was previously held by Eagles lineman Lane Johnson. Ramczyk’s $60MM guarantee also surpasses Johnson’s ($55MM), with the two players earning the distinction of being the only right tackles with guarantees surpassing $35MM. For comparison’s sake, Moton will earn around $13.7MM this upcoming season under the franchise tag.

The Panthers aren’t the only team looking to extend their right tackle. We learned earlier today that the Colts were working with Braden Smith on a long-term deal.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

NFL Suspends Panthers WR Ventell Bryant

Panthers wide receiver Ventell Bryant will not be available to start the season. The NFL handed the young pass catcher/special-teamer a two-game suspension, Joe Person of The Athletic tweets.

This falls under the league’s substance-abuse policy. Bryant was arrested for DUI in March 2020, but the 24-year-old receiver reached a plea deal to bring the charge down to reckless driving earlier this year, Greg Auman of The Athletic notes (via Twitter).

One of several Temple players on ex-Owls head coach Matt Rhule‘s Panthers roster, Bryant signed a reserve/futures contract with Carolina in January. His only game action has come for the 2019 Cowboys, who used him as a special-teamer in 12 games. Bryant broke into the league as a Bengals UDFA in 2019.

The 25-year-old receiver is not a threat to see much time as a receiver with the Panthers, who have Robby Anderson, D.J. Moore and second-round pick Terrace Marshall at the position. Bryant retains practice squad eligibility, however. He joins Anderson, Haason Reddick, wideout Keith Kirkwood and four other current Panthers Rhule coached while at Temple.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Panthers Sign Brady Christensen

The Panthers have signed third-round offensive lineman Brady Christensen, per a club announcement. As the No. 70 overall pick, the BYU product will make $5.16MM on his four-year deal, including a signing bonus of $1.12MM. 

Scouts Inc. assigned a seventh-round grade to Christensen, whose stature and lack of lateral quickness might point him to the interior, rather than the outside. However, the Panthers were (and are) extremely bullish on him during the draft. Initially, the Panthers planned to take Christensen with the No. 60 overall pick. Then, they got word of the Saints’ interest in wide receiver Terrace Marshall Jr. Fortunately for them, Christensen was still there at No. 70, even after they took Marshall 60th.

Christensen, 25 in September, spent three seasons with the Cougars, blocking for No. 2 overall pick Zach Wilson. It remains to be seen how the Panthers will use him this year, but it sounds like Cam Erving, Greg Little, and Dennis Daley will vie for the left tackle job. That may leave Christensen to fight for time at right tackle or one of the two guard spots.

With Christensen in the fold, third-round tight end Tommy Tremble stands as the Panthers’ last straggler.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.