Panthers Rumors

Panthers Want To Sign James Bradberry

Count Panthers head coach Ron Rivera among those who’d like to see cornerback James Bradberry signed long-term.

It’s pretty easy to surmise that Rivera is talking about former cornerback Josh Norman, who left the organization following a messy contract dispuit. Since then, Bradberry has been one of the lone consistencies among Panthers defensive backs, so it only makes sense that the coaching staff would want to keep him around. The 25-year-old is heading into the final season of his rookie contract.

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Minor NFL Transactions: 6/12/19

Today’s minor moves:

Carolina Panthers

Chicago Bears

Kansas City Chiefs

New Orleans Saints

New York Jets

  • Claimed off waivers: CB Montrel Meander

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Minor NFL Transactions: 6/11/19

Today’s minor moves:

Carolina Panthers

Green Bay Packers

New York Jets

New Orleans Saints

Oakland Raiders

  • Signed: WR Montay Crockett
  • Signed: CB Isaiah Langley
  • Waived: CB Makinton Dorleant
  • Waived: CB Montrel Meander

Washington Redskins

  • Signed: DB Ashton Lampkin
  • Waived: LB DeMarquis Gates

Latest On Cam Newton’s Recovery

Cam Newton is set to make another major step in his recovery from offseason shoulder surgery. Max Henson of the team’s website writes that the Panthers franchise quarterback will participate in quarterback drills during the team’s upcoming three-day minicamp.

“This is all part of the rehab process,” said head athletic trainer Ryan Vermillion. “Cam has worked extremely hard this offseason with his rehabilitation and his preparation.

“He’s going to continue the throwing program Tuesday and we’ll advance it as we monitor his progress. He’s achieved every milestone we’ve set out for him so far in preparation for this.”

Shortly after the 2018 season came to an end, Newton underwent an arthroscopic procedure on his throwing shoulder. There’s been plenty of optimism that the quarterback would be ready for training camp. We learned in early May that his rehab was “unbelievable,” and we last heard that Newton was throwing a regulation-size football at the end of May. During the upcoming minicamp, Newton will be executing a “limited number of throws to stationary targets,” and it sounds like he probably won’t participate in team drills.

The Panthers started the 2018 campaign with a 6-2 record, but everything went downhill when Newton popped up on the injury report with his shoulder issue. The team went 1-7 the rest of the way, and Newton was shut down for the final two games of the season. Despite the injury, Newton’s numbers were still impressive; he ultimately finished the campaign having completed a career-high 67.9-percent of his passes for 3,395 yards, 24 touchdowns, and 13 interceptions. The 30-year-old also ran for 488 yards and four touchdowns on 101 carries.

If Newton takes a step back and is forced to miss any time, Taylor Heinicke, Kyle Allen, or rookie Will Grier would temporarily step up as the team’s number-one quarterback.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Minor NFL Transactions: 6/5/19

Here are Wednesday’s minor moves:

Buffalo Bills

Carolina Panthers

Jacksonville Jaguars

Philadelphia Eagles

Minor NFL Transactions: 6/4/19

Today’s minor moves:

Carolina Panthers

Chicago Bears

Indianapolis Colts

  • Signed: G Nico Siragusa

Jacksonville Jaguars

Miami Dolphins

New York Giants

Ravens Offered Gerald McCoy $8MM Guaranteed?

Gerald McCoy agreed to sign with the Panthers today, opting to remain the NFC South rather than venture to the Browns or Ravens in the AFC North. Apparently, though, Baltimore did everything it could to bring McCoy into the fold.

McCoy landed a one-year, $8MM pact from Carolina that could be worth as much as $10.25MM. However, only $4MM of that is guaranteed, and as Ian Rapoport of NFL.com reports, the Ravens were willing to give McCoy double that amount in fully-guaranteed money (video link). RapSheet adds that the Browns also put together a strong package that may have surpassed the Panthers’ offer.

It’s unclear what incentives Baltimore or Cleveland were offering to enhance the value of their proposals, but many of the incentives in McCoy’s Panthers deal do not seem especially difficult to achieve (provided he remains healthy). McCoy is due $3MM in base pay — and it’s not as though the Panthers are going to cut him to avoid paying that salary — and he can earn $500K in camp roster bonuses, another $500K in 45-man per game bonuses, $500K if he tallies six sacks, and $1.5MM if he posts eight sacks. He also has playoff and Pro Bowl incentives. The eight-sack incentive may be a tall order, but the others are either very likely or at least attainable (and McCoy did tally 8.5 sacks in 2015, with totals of seven, six, and six in each of the past three seasons).

So in reality, McCoy may ultimately earn just as much in Carolina as he would have with the Ravens or Browns (both of whom also boast strong front-sevens). But McCoy was drawn to the camaraderie he saw during his visit with the Panthers, and he preferred to remain in the South. He enjoyed his visits to Cleveland and Baltimore but had reservations about the cities themselves.

Of course, the chance to exact revenge on the Bucs likely had at least some part in McCoy’s decision, especially with Tampa Bay giving McCoy’s No. 93 to new signee Ndamukong Suh.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Panthers To Sign Gerald McCoy

Free agent defensive tackle Gerald McCoy has elected to sign with the Panthers, as Adam Schefter of ESPN.com reports (via Twitter). Rick Stroud of the Tampa Bay Times tweets that it will be a one-year, $8MM pact that can be worth as much as $10.25MM with incentives, and Schefter adds that it includes a $4MM signing bonus (Twitter link).

Ian Rapoport of NFL.com adds more details on the incentive package (Twitter link). In addition to his $4MM signing bonus and $3MM base pay, McCoy can earn $500K in camp roster bonuses, another $500K in 45-man per game bonuses, $500K if he tallies six sacks, and $1.5MM if he posts eight sacks. He also has playoff and Pro Bowl incentives.

McCoy quickly became the hottest name on the market upon his release from the Buccaneers, and he visited with the Browns, Ravens, and Panthers. It sounds as though the Ravens were the runner-up in the McCoy sweepstakes, as Schefter tweets that McCoy left Baltimore thinking he may very well sign there. But Carolina wowed him during his visit, and Panthers QB Cam Newton made a convincing sales pitch. The fact that he can now terrorize his old team twice in 2019 may have also been a factor.

The Panthers reinforce a strong D-line that now includes three Pro Bowlers in McCoy, Dontari Poe, and Kawann Short. McCoy may not be the player he once was, but the 31-year-old is still a fearsome presence, especially considering his ability to generate an interior pass rush. He has 54.5 career sacks to his credit, and he is also durable, as he has not missed more than three games in a season since 2011.

Short and Poe each played between 50-60% of the Panthers’ defensive snaps in 2018, so McCoy fits nicely into the club’s rotation. He ranked fourth among defensive tackles with 21 quarterback hits in 2018 and finished as the NFL’s No. 28 interior defender, per Pro Football Focus.

The Panthers cleared out $9MM in cap space over the past week by officially releasing Matt Kalil and restructuring the contract of Torrey Smith. As Joe Person of The Athletic tweets, Carolina still has $8MM to conduct the rest of its offseason business.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Gerald McCoy Hopes To Sign Today

Gerald McCoy‘s agent is actively negotiating with the Panthers, Browns, and Ravens, according to Ian Rapoport of NFL.com (Twitter link). There’s no real timetable for McCoy to sign, though Rapoport notes that he would like to be on the field for the start of mandatory minicamp on Tuesday, wherever he lands. 

McCoy drew interest from seemingly 1/3rd of the NFL, but the Ravens and Browns seem to be in the lead for his services. The Panthers have also made a strong push to land McCoy in an effort to give Kawann Short a quality partner on the interior.

McCoy has 54.5 career sacks to his credit and has not missed more than three games in a season since 2011. He’d be an instant difference maker for any of those three clubs and each team would offer him a chance to win in 2019.

Ultimately, it may come down to money for McCoy and his camp – the veteran has reportedly garnered offers as high as $11MM/year, but it’s hard to see him reaching that mark after Ndamukong Suh signed for less than $10MM with the Bucs.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

This Date In Transactions History: Panthers Extend Cam Newton

During what became the best year in Panthers franchise history, the team took care of its centerpiece player. On June 2, 2015, the Panthers and Cam Newton reached an agreement on a five-year extension.

This deal preceded Newton’s monster 2015 season, a year that saw him pilot the Panthers to a 15-1 record and Super Bowl 50. The extension turned out to be incredibly team-friendly — especially as the quarterback market exploded in the years that followed. Newton signed a five-year, $103.8MM contract that came with $41MM fully guaranteed.

At that point, Aaron Rodgers‘ five-year, $110MM pact — agreed to in 2013 — remained the standard. And the market did not move much for the next two years. Both Andrew Luck and Derek Carr took it higher, with the latter’s extension spiking it to the $25MM-per-year mark. Now, having Newton on a $20.8MM-AAV deal is a staggering bargain for the Panthers — regardless of the 30-year-old quarterback’s situation — and represents a mark in the win column of embattled GM Dave Gettleman. The since-fired Carolina GM did not draft Newton but oversaw the extension process.

Matthew Stafford, Kirk Cousins, Matt Ryan, Rodgers and Russell Wilson led to the passer market ballooning to its current place, with Wilson’s $35MM-AAV accord pacing the NFL. In between Carr’s deal in June 2017 and Wilson’s April 2019 re-up, the landscape has changed significantly. Newton is now the NFL’s 16th-highest-paid passer. His full-guarantee number ranks 11th. Both Ryan and Cousins more than doubled it in their most recent deals.

Newton has not come close to replicating his 2015 MVP performance, which featured 35 touchdown passes (11 more than any other season), 636 rushing yards and 10 TDs, and a 66.0 QBR. The former No. 1 overall pick regressed in 2016 and ’17, failing to top 22 touchdown passes or the No. 21 spot in QBR in either slate. The Auburn phenom was faring well in Norv Turner‘s offense last season, but another shoulder injury halted his progress and has forced a second lengthy rehab process in three years.

Two years remain, with cap numbers of $23.2MM and $21.1MM, on Newton’s contract. He is not in a strong bargaining position right now, reinjuring his shoulder and having just resumed throwing regulation-sized footballs. But if Newton returns to the form he showed to start last season, extension talks figure to transpire in 2020. The Panthers used a third-round pick on Will Grier but remain committed to Newton as their starter.

That said, this will be a key season for the three-time Pro Bowler — particularly from a health standpoint. If 2019 does not go well, the Panthers could get out of Newton’s deal with merely a $2MM dead-money charge. Although, if the team wanted to change course after nine years of Newton, this contract (and the passer’s talent) would not make for difficult trade talks. But we’re obviously a ways away from that potential reality. The most successful quarterback in Panthers history will have a chance to rebuild his value soon.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.