The Carolina Panthers only made news signing one player this offseason. They signed quarterback Cam Newton to an extension for crazy money.
Is Newton worth $100+ million dollars? Most would say he isn’t, since he hasn’t really won anything in the NFL. You can also look at the garbage some NFL teams trot out as their starting quarterbacks and it makes you ponder that he could be worth a big contract.
The NFC South still appears to be one of the worst divisions in the NFL. Each team has at least one major flaw. The Panthers have the best defense in the division and they will carry them in many games, but is their offense up to the task?
Here is the 2015 NFL team preview for the Carolina Panthers.
2014 Win/Loss Record: 7-8-1
Key Additions: CB Charles Tillman, OT Michael Oher, RB Jordan Todman, WR Jarrett Boykin, ILB Jason Trusnik, S Kurt Coleman & WR Ted Ginn
Key Losses: DE Greg Hardy, RB DeAngelo Williams, RT Byron Bell, CB James Dockery, C Fernando Velasco, RB Darrin Reaves, S Thomas DeCoud, OLB Chase Blackburn, C Kevin Matthews, G Garry Williams & CB Chris Houston
2015 Draft Picks: OLB Shaq Thompson, WR Devin Funchess, OT Daryl Williams, ILB David Mayo & RB Cameron Artis-Payne
Non-Division Schedule: AFC South, NFC East & (Green Bay/Seattle)
Fantasy Sleeper: WR Stephen Hill – I would classify this has a ‘deep sleeper’. Hill has always intrigued me. He has the speed to be a deep threat, but his hands has always been questionable. Head coach Ron Rivera said Hill was the standout during OTAs this Summer. Hill currently has Benjamin, Funchess, Ginn, Cotchery & Boykin ahead of him on the depth chart, but keep an eye on Hill. He could end up being a nice end-of-the-draft pick or waiver wire target in deeper leagues.
Offense – QB Cam Newton, RB Jonathan Stewart, WR Kelvin Benjamin, WR Devin Funchess, WR Jerricho Cotchery, TE Greg Olsen, LT Michael Oher, LG Andrew Norwell, C Ryan Kalil, RG Trai Turner & RT Mike Remmers
Defense – DE Charles Johnson, DT Star Lotulelei, DT Kawann Short, DE Frank Alexander, OLB Thomas Davis, MLB Luke Kuechly, OLB A.J. Klein, CB Charles Tillman, CB Josh Norman, SS Roman Harper & FS Tre Boston
Team Analysis: Carolina limped into the playoffs with a 7-8-1 record last season. Cam Newton wasn’t particularly impressive and the entire NFC South was a letdown. They needed to upgrade the offense this offseason, but little was done. They did pay Newton a metric buttload of money and he will earn his money this year. DeAngelo Williams left and the Panthers are left with often-injured Jonathan Stewart as the lead running back. Newton needs an efficient running game to thrive. Their defense will need to carry this team if they hope to once again win the lowly NFC South. I don’t see them repeating as division champs this year. Carolina needs to heavily invest in their offense if they want the Newton relationship to pay off.
2015 Wins Over/Under Line: 8.5 (Prediction: UNDER)
2015 Projected Win/Loss Record: 6-10 (3rd (tie) in NFC South)
Bobby Roberts (otherwise known as Sweetbob) is the creator of ‘America’s White Boy’ and contributor at Project Shanks. His writing has been featured on ESPN’s ‘SportsNation’, Sports Illustrated’s Hot Clicks, Guyspeed, and various other sites. You can follow him on Twitter at @Sweetbob.