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Tag:Carolina Panthers
Posted on: July 28, 2011 6:20 pm
Edited on: July 28, 2011 9:17 pm
 

TE Olsen traded to Panthers for draft pick

Posted by Josh Katzowitz

It was just a few hours ago when we told you that the Bears had put TE Greg Olsen on the trading block, as agent Drew Rosenhaus tweeted that Chicago was willing to be very “reasonable” in who they got for swapping Olsen.

The Panthers have taken the Bears up on the deal.

The Chicago Tribune is reporting that Olsen is on his way to Carolina in exchange for a player (not likely named Steve Smith) and for an undisclosed draft pick.

Olsen caught 41 passes last year for 404 yards and five touchdowns, and he’ll join a crowded tight end group in Carolina with Jeremy Shockey and Ben Hartsock already on the roster.

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Posted on: July 28, 2011 1:17 pm
 

Bears sign Matt Spaeth, put Greg Olsen on block

Posted by Will Brinson

Everyone knows that Mike Martz' offense doesn't really benefit tight ends all that much, but there's still some pretty surprising news coming out of Chicago on Thursday that involves the shifting of bodies on the depth chart.

First, there's the news that the Bears are shopping Olsen to anyone that might be interested. And they don't even want that much! At least that's according to his agent Drew Rosenhaus, who penned an note to all the other NFL teams on Wednesday night.

"The Bears have granted me permission to seek a trade for Greg Olsen," Rosenhaus wrote in an email obtained by the Chicago Tribune. "Please let me know if interested.

"Sounds like the Bears will be very reasonable on the compensation in return for Greg."

However, Rosenhaus backtracked about 15 minutes later, writing, "Please disregard my previous email regarding Greg Olsen."

That's a nice sentiment and all, but as Sean Jensen of the Chicago Sun-Times wrote, "Know this: the Bears are indeed shopping Olsen."

Want more proof? The Bears signed Steelers tight end Matt Spaeth on Thursday too, per Michael Lombardi of the NFL Network. Spaeth is a much better blocker and a bigger benefit to the Bears in the running game than Olsen, even if he's not even close to the receiving weapon that Olsen presents.

So where to for Olsen? Well, how about the Panthers who just so happen to employ Rod Chudzinksi as an offensive coordinator, who just so happens to have worked with Olsen in college at Miami and who just so happens to have had some success with tight ends in the past. (You may have heard of Antonio Gates.)

Jensen noted, in fact, that an NFC exec believes the Panthers would be "a good fit" but also reports that the Bears "will not just give Greg Olsen away to the highest bidder."

There's also the matter of Olsen not sounding too thrilled at the prospect -- NBC Chicago's Peggy Kusinski cites a "source close to" Olsen who says the tight end is "not happy at all [with the] trade talk" because he "wants to play his entire career in Chicago."

Unfortunately for Olsen, that may not be an option the way things are unfolding.

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Posted on: July 27, 2011 1:41 pm
Edited on: July 27, 2011 2:43 pm
 

DeAngelo agrees to $43M deal with Panthers

Posted by Will Brinson

If you thought the Carolina Panthers might sit on their laurels in free agency, well, whoops: less than a day after dropping a $76 million beast of a deal on defensive end Charles Johnson, the Panthers have reportedly signed running back DeAngelo Williams to a five-year, $43-million deal that features $21 million in guaranteed money.

"DeAngelo Williams is back #doubletrouble" Jonathan Stewart, Williams' backfield partner, tweeted shortly after Michael Lombardi of the NFL Network first reported the deal.

Williams, like Johnson, became an unrestricted free agent following the implementation of the new CBA rules and cashed in big-time with his hometown team on Wednesday.

Reports also indicate that the Denver Broncos and Williams' former coach John Fox were in heavy pursuit of the running back, but much like Johnson, it appears the Panthers were willing to pony up and keep him in-town.

The Panthers have also since signed kicker Olindo Mare to a four-year, $12 million deal and signed tight end Ben Hartsock. Yes, it's safe to say they're being a tad active this offseason.

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Posted on: July 26, 2011 5:57 pm
Edited on: July 26, 2011 6:59 pm
 

Panthers, DE Johnson agree to $76M deal

Posted by Will Brinson

The Panthers are the surprising first big movers of the 2011 offseason, as they have dropped an absolute bombshell of a $76-million contract on free-agent defensive end Charles Johnson.

Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk first reported the news that Johnson's contract with the Panthers (which, again, is for $76 million) includes a $30 million signing bonus and $32 million in guaranteed money.

According to Steve Reed of the Gaston Gazette, multiple members of the Panthers coaching staff and front office, including GM Marty Hurney and head coach Ron Rivera, traveled to Miami to convince Johnson to sign with Carolina.

"I'm so excited," Johnson said. "I'm ready to get back to football."

Johnson, who broke out in a big way last season with 11.5 sacks, was listed as CBSSports.com's Pete Prisco's No. 2-overall free agent in this year's class and considered the Panthers' top priority this offseason. He was also considered a prime target for the division-rival Falcons, and his family wanted him to sign with Atlanta but, per Reed, he was "blown away" by Carolina's offer.

"Could you have turned it down?" Johnson said.

The initial reaction to that question is clearly "no" and the response to the deal is probably "WHAT?" -- but it's actually not that insane. No, seriously, hear me out.

See, the Panthers defensive line is flat-out terrible. They also play six of their 16 annual games against Drew Brees, Matt Ryan and Josh Freeman. None of those guys are going anywhere anytime soon and if the Panthers wanted a chance in the division, re-upping the one guy on the roster who can pressure the quarterback was essential.

Additionally, the money is a big old chunk of change but consider that last year, the Bears paid a 31-year-old Julius Peppers more than $90 million over the life of a six-year deal.

Johnson, by the time he finishes up his deal, will be that same age. And though he might not equate to "Peppers in his prime," the money spent on Johnson will be well worth it if he can come close to his production in 2010 over the course of the deal.

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Posted on: July 25, 2011 9:53 pm
Edited on: July 26, 2011 12:09 am
 

Monday features flurry of rookie (non) signings

Posted by Will Brinson

Monday night -- theoretically a calm night based on the timeline we heard about earlier in the day -- got pretty spicy pretty quickly as rookies came into play a little sooner than expected.

NFL Senior VP of Public Relations Greg Aiello confirmed to CBSSports.com that teams can use Monday night to talk and negotiate -- but not sign -- with drafted and undrafted free agents. (Yes, that means that Mrs. Brinson is going to hate the as-yet-created Undrafted Free Agent Tracker as much as she dislikes Brett Favre.)

Of course, "talking with" and "actually signing" don't have to be entirely mutually exclusive. For instance, a number of big-name undrafted free agents tweeted on Monday night that they were already locked in with certain teams.

"I'm a Saint twitter! New Orleans here I come!!!!!!!" Clemson safety DeAndre McDaniel tweeted.

Kendric Burney out of UNC tweeted that he's "staying home" and gave a shoutout to "Panther nation." (You can make the connection right?)

A number of other high-profile-but-undrafted players were immediately linked with teams.

Mark Herzlich had reportedly signed with the Ravens, but then tweeted that he has "not signed with anyone yet and is still making [his] decision. Weslye Saunders, a tight end out of South Carolina who once seemed like a lock for the first round, is reportedly heading to Pittsburgh.

None of these "non-signings" are "official," of course. But that's what suddenly made a would-be relaxing -- relative to the day's activities anyway -- evening on Monday night turn into a torrent of tweets related to (and from) various UDFA's who found their way onto rosters.

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Posted on: July 25, 2011 3:58 pm
 

Bus Cook: Brett Favre is 'retired, period'

Posted by Will Brinson

For whatever unholy reason, even the amazing news of a brand-new CBA can't go through without the rumors of Brett Favre possibly returning to the NFL.

Thankfully, Bus Cook is here to let us know that Favre's not coming back. We think. Probably. Period? Yes, period.

"Brett Favre retired in January," Cook told the Clarion Ledger. "He has not talked to any teams, including Carolina Panthers, Philadelphia Eagles, the Arizona Cardinals and the Seattle Seahawks. He has not talked to anyone about playing football.

"He's retired, period."

So, there you have it: Brett Favre is not walking through that door.

Of course, this is the NFL and this is Brett Favre we're talking about. Which means that until he is actually no longer on the field and there is actually football taking place, there will be rumors about him playing somewhere.

Most of these rumors -- the Panthers and Eagles for example -- don't make any sense whatsoever, primarily because of Favre's age and the drama he brings.

On the other hand, if the catch-22 to getting football back is wading through Favre rumors, well, it's still worth it.

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Posted on: July 17, 2011 6:07 pm
Edited on: July 17, 2011 6:41 pm
 

Panthers' Smith interested in Chargers or Ravens?

Posted by Ryan Wilson

Wide receiver Steve Smith might regret not getting to know the rookies during a decade's worth of Panthers training camps, but that doesn't mean he's any more likely to want to stay in Carolina for an 11th NFL season.

Eye on Football blogging colleague Will Brinson wrote in May that Smith could be interested in the Raiders or Chargers, but pointed out that, "Smith doesn't exactly control his destiny in terms of where he'll end up in 2011, and you can expect the Panthers to use his value in an effort to try and rebuild on the fly."

And while we're so close to a new CBA and actual football, we're not there yet. Which means we're left to speculate and go on others' words. A source tells the Charlotte Observer's Tom Sorensen that the Chargers and Ravens are currently Smith's teams of choice.

Sorensen writes that "Although Smith, and not Julius Peppers, is the best player in Carolina history, the Panthers aren't obligated to trade him. It's not as if there's a lifetime achievement award he can parlay into a Get Out of Charlotte Free card. Depends what the Panthers can get for him.

Smith's Saga in Charlotte



"A third-round pick feels insufficient."

It feels insufficient until you remember that the Broncos might have to settle for a third-round pick for Kyle Orton, and the Steelers shipped Santonio Holmes to the Jets for a fifth-rounder last offseason. (Although that bargain-basement price tag had everything to do with Holmes' off-field troubles. But still, he was the Super Bowl MVP and the best pass catcher on the Jets in 2010 -- you'd think he'd still be worth more than that.)

Sorensen also notes that should Smith stay in Carolina he could serve as Cam Newton's security blanket, but that's part of the problem. As Brinson pointed out Saturday, "Smith wasn't a big fan of Jimmy Clausen [last season]. It's hard to blame him, because Clausen's ascension to the role of starter meant a serious step back for the passing game."

Plus, Smith's 32. He's not interested in being a part of the Panthers' rebuilding process; he wants to win now, while he still has a few good years left.  And in that regard, San Diego makes a lot of sense. In fact, when quarterback Philip Rivers was asked about the prospects in May, he was all for it.

"Bring him on," he said. "Hey, we've got a great deal of weapons here. I certainly appreciate each and every one of them. Any time you can add a guy of that caliber, I'm all for it."

As is Smith, we'd imagine.

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Posted on: July 16, 2011 12:21 pm
Edited on: July 16, 2011 4:00 pm
 

Steve Smith regrets not really knowing rookies

Posted by Will Brinson

From the get-go in 2010, it was kind of obvious that Steve Smith wasn't a big fan of Jimmy Clausen. It's hard to blame him, because Clausen's ascension to the role of starter meant a serious step back for the passing game.

But perhaps there's another underlying issue that's part of Smith's makeup? Well, maybe -- Smith talked to Yahoo! Sports' Doug Farrar recently, and indicated that over the last decade, he's purposely avoided becoming close with rookies. 

"One of the things I would like to accomplish is that for the last 10 years, I really haven't talked to a lot of rookies through training camp," Smith said. "It's really hard, because a lot of those guys get cut. I can remember that almost all of the wide receivers we drafted or were undrafted — there was a guy named Kevin Coffey from Virginia, and after he got cut, it was very difficult, because we hung out for so long.

Smith's Saga in Charlotte


"So, I didn't talk with a lot of the rookies and free agents until after final cuts, because I just didn't want to get emotionally attached. That's one thing I lost out on — there's probably about 10 or 12 guys over the last 10 years, but I've missed out on [developing relationships with] a lot of those rookies."

The full interview with Smith over at Shutdown Corner is absolutely worth reading. You can tell he's entering a phase of his career where he wants to move forward from past mistakes, but also finds himself looking back in an introspective fashion.

Seriously -- I'm not trying to over-blow it, but Smith opens up a ton with Farrar, and it's fascinating to see such a fiery, emotional competitor clearly at a career (and life) crossroads.

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The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com