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March 3, 2011

Last call for actual football

A few things to chew on while we wait for what seems like the inevitable lockout announcement later today:

-- The Panthers did most of the football business they're going to do for a while when they put tenders on 20 players yesterday.

The key word is most, not all.

The last remaining order of business would apparently be TE Jeremy Shockey. There were reports he wanted to sign a deal by today, and if that's the case, it would seem like it's down to the Panthers and Miami Dolphins. 

Shockey called it "a dream to play for the Dolphins," and go back to the place where he starred in college. 

But he also has familiarity here, as new Panthers OC Rob Chudzinski was his coach at "The U."

The Panthers would work on several levels, as the team needs a pass-catcher at the position, and Chudzinski needs advocates as he installs a new system. Don't underestimate part two of that equation.

The 30-year-old Shockey has injury issues (missed 10 games the last three seasons with a variety of ailments). But he's still productive, as he's averaged 46 catches a season for New Orleans the last three, and the Panthers haven't had that kind of output since Wesley Walls.

Makes sense, but the ball's in his court now. He wrote on his twitter page last night: "Been a long day, even a longer week. Have lots going on. Many big decisions to make."


-- As for the tenders, the first thing to know is they may not matter.

If for some reason a CBA is reached soon, all the players with four and five years of experience would almost certainly become unrestricted free agents.

But if you've been following the labor situation, you know nothing's certain.

In the short term, the Panthers have secured the rights to players such as RB DeAngelo Williams, DE Charles Johnson, QB Matt Moore and LB James Anderson for another year.

The tenders are simply a way of squatting on the players if talks break down, and drag out until the fall, when time for a free agency period would be limited.

It's a way of covering bases, and it's smart to do, even if it ends up being meaningless.


-- Darin Gantt

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