Line Fixes Lurk On Panthers Roster

January 15th, 2018

Stinking Panthers DT Star Lotulelei

When you’re a consistently good team like the Panthers, with playoff appearances in four of the past five seasons, you have an issue common among those quality clubs.

That would be lots of talented and well paid players — too many for a salary-cap league.

Yes, the Panthers have their share of studs hitting unrestricted free agency. Joe already wrote about ageless Julius Peppers, but Carolina also has younger free agents who would instantly make the Bucs a better team.

How would you like to swap 28-year-old grinder nose tackle Star Lotulelei for Chris “Swaggy” Baker and his half-sack, theft-riddled season?

Lotulelei, the Panthers’ 2013 first-round pick (14th overall), just played out the fifth-year option on his rookie contract and it seems the Panthers will be short on cash to bring him back. They just dropped giant money for Kawaan Short, their more-highly paid version of Gerald McCoy.

Manbeast Lotulelei won’t fix the Bucs’ pass rushing woes, but he certainly would be a healthy step up from Baker.

“I don’t think there’s a whole lot of people that can do what I can do,” Lotulelei said, per the Panthers website. “The physicality and intelligence that I bring, I don’t think there’s a whole lot of people that have that combination. Like I said, I’m not worried about it. I know I’ll find a job, if it’s here or somewhere else.”

Just looking at salaries of nose tackles, Joe’s guessing Lotulelei, who just turned 28, could be had for $8 million per season. Joe likes that Lotulelei has only missed four games in five seasons, the last absence coming in 2015.

Regardless, a signing like Lotulelei is an upgrade and a step toward changing the culture of the D-line, assuming the Bucs have the stomach to dump big-money guys like Robert Ayers, Baker and Will Gholston this winter.

Also hitting unrestricted free agency for the Panthers is Pro Bowl/All-Pro left guard Andrew Norwell. The 6-6, 315-pound overachiever out of Ohio State is known as the nasty member of the Carolina offensive line.

The 26-year-old’s rookie deal has expired and it’s unclear whether he’ll be paid by Carolina, which just gave their other Pro Bowl guard, Trai Turner, a massive new contract.

Norwell, a darling of the PFF Tribe who has many supporters among his teammates, sure would fix the revolving door of the Bucs’ left guard position.

46 Responses to “Line Fixes Lurk On Panthers Roster”

  1. B Coburn Says:

    Guard sounds good. If we can also find a centre and move Marpet back to RG, we will be mostly fixed on oline. Don’t see DT as much of a need as end or corner, But assuming we also address those needs why not?

  2. The Buc Realist Says:

    Wow, Sheldon Richardson and Star Lotulelei on the draft board and mark dominik trades for a hurt Darelle Revis and a additional 3rd that turned into a 4th because loser lovie cut him !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Moves like this is why the Bucs are having to fight out of the basement of the NFC South!!!!!!!!

    Fix the “real” problems, the trenches!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Go Bucs!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  3. darin Says:

    Realist
    Duh. Lichts tried to “fix” the trenches. How many draft picks and fa’s need to be signed to “fix” them? The answer is nobody knows, because the coaching staff has to put them into position to succeed. I, for one, seriously doubt thatll happen with this staff. Hope so but not hopeful.

  4. Dusthty Rhothdes Says:

    Right on bucs realist, same as drafting a K with all that was available, but if any FAs want to come to tampa those 2 from the panthers would be a great start

  5. ManzielMadness Says:

    Go after them both. I’m tired of banking on guys like Swaggy Baker, Anthony Collins, and Michael Johnson.

  6. AlteredEgo Says:

    Stop chasing FA’s…focus on the draft and trading our own players for draft picks….this team is two drafts away …which means a chance at a real playoff run in two years….I don’t count Wild Card weekend as play offs….if we can get anything for Mc Coy TAKE IT !…..he won’t be a factor of the play off team in two years anyway….possibly trade Mike Evans for a kings ransom….he has some real trade value compared to McCoy…these two are merely example of a strategy….target 2020

  7. Not there yet Says:

    Nope no thanks. No more old dudes, get out there and rebuild the line with young hungry players looking to make a name for themselves. Sign no one within this division

  8. Dusthty Rhothdes Says:

    altered ego agree with that philosophy but licht should have had that from day 1, he wont be here in 2020 and hopefully the next person has a legit plan and identity to mold the team like a defense

  9. thunderhcunkyPA Says:

    If you get the right guys, they make a difference no matter the age of the player. Look at Campbell in Jacksonville, M Jenkins and Long in Philly, and even Grimes here in Tampa. Licht must take a big swing to keep his job after 2018. There is only so many draft picks and to many holes to fill. Free agents can put a team in contention or even over the top, Ayers, Swaggy, and Sweezy are not the answer. Pro-Bowl caliber free agents, are another story all together.

  10. Conte Piscatelli Says:

    Here is the problem, the Panthers free agents would likely play for the Browns before they would sign with the Bucs. Unless they are just mad at the Panthers organization and want to stick it to them. Face it these guys probably don’t like the Bucs having didn’t their career playing is. Additionally, they have been what Tampa is not, winners, I’m sure they would sign at a discount with a team with a better organization, stronger coach, and history of making the playoffs.

  11. Conte Piscatelli Says:

    @ alter

    Your plan is actually very good, but it needs to be the view of the Glazers. No GM or coach would be on board with the 2020 plan unless the plan had the full backing off the owners. Remember these guys don’t want to be part of the process only to be unemployed in 2019.

  12. Wausa Says:

    Good call here Joe.
    Bucs are in great cap shape and should go hard after Norwell and Lotulelei.

    The Panthers are in bad cap shape(Falcons and Saints after they sign Brees are not in great shape either).

    I’d also like to see the Bucs go after
    Lamarcus Joyner, DB LA Rams
    Carlos Hyde, RB San Francisco
    Malcom Butler, CB New England
    Patrick Robinson, CB Philadelphia.

  13. Architek Says:

    (Depressed) sounds funny but I don’t think players like this will come to Bucs in their prime…

  14. AlteredEgo Says:

    IMO….veteran FA’s need to be brought into an existing culture and then fit in, Hardy Nickerson was an exception and football had a different culture then. It seems the FA vets we have been bringing in come in thinking they are above the hot mess and just go about one play after another happy to do their job and collect the biggest checks they have ever received distancing themselves from the losing as in “not my job”…much better to sign younger FA’s that have “some” upside and are eager to COMPETE and prove themselves….I am so disappointed in Baker…especially as he was a undrafted FA rookie …that proved himself…he could have been a perfect example but instead became a very bad example of a profession football player….I’d run is ass into the ground next training camp and let him go in the final cutdown !

  15. AlteredEgo Says:

    Conte the Browns …will explode onto the NFL scene…they are loaded with quality players and have 4 of the top 30 something picks in the next draft….all they need is a vet QB to run the show along with whichever rookie QB they draft this year.

  16. Sunny Says:

    Getting star players on defense along with drafting good and we can fix the defense. . . Will take a lot of work to get there this yr more like two offseasons IF we stay course

    The offense is already there just need a RB

    For licht doubters , he focused on offense fixing first which is there already give him time to fix the defense

  17. Conte Piscatelli Says:

    Altered,

    True about the Browns talent, but they are still the Browns. Outside of the last two days the only 1 first round pick for the Browns is still on the team. And the Browns always pick high, but I guess that’s what happens with a baseball GM.

  18. Conte Piscatelli Says:

    Drafts not days

  19. Defense Rules Says:

    @Darin … “Lichts tried to “fix” the trenches. How many draft picks and FA’s need to be signed to “fix” them? The answer is nobody knows, because the coaching staff has to put them into position to succeed.” Uh, I’m sure that you were just baiting Realist with that comment about Licht trying to fix the trenches & pissing on the coaches for not being able to coach up Baker & a bunch of rookie UFA DEs. But still, it’s hard to resist exploring that …

    Licht had as good a chance to sign Campbell as anyone … he chose going cheap with Baker. We won’t talk about how that turned out. He had a great opportunity to trade for DT Marcell Dareus (Bills) this past season … he twiddled his thumbs while Jax picked him up for a 6th round pick. He chose to count on a injured 240 pound DE (Spence) and an always injured DE (Jack Smith) instead of drafting a REAL DE … and BOTH helped us ZERO this past year. Oh wait, I forgot. Licht did draft a run-stuffing DT (Stevie T) in the 7TH ROUND … spent the year on IR.

    So what we ended up with for a DLine was GMC (sorry tmaxcon) who played hurt much of the year but still got 6.5 sacks, McDonald who also played hurt much of the year but still got 5 sacks, Baker who was too busy humping palm trees to contribute much of anything, Siliga who played in only 8 games and contributed close to nothing also, Ayers who did play in 12 games (2 sacks) but played like a shell of himself from 2016, Gholston who played in 14 games but got ZERO sacks (still say there’s something going on there that we don’t know about), plus a handful of other DEs who played hard but contributed next to nothing in terms of pass rush.

    So Licht ‘fixed’ the trenches? Not hardly. And you say that nobody knows what’s needed now? Uh, pick a DLine position, any position … we need it. I’ve said many times before that this coaching staff MAY need replacing, but until they have some decent T-A-L-E-N-T to work with, don’t throw experienced coaches under the bus. Joe does enough of that. He doesn’t need our help.

  20. Bird Says:

    No brainer

    Swaggy baker and gholston contracts go bye bye and still money left over.

    Teams ran up gut some games to easily.

    When you face the running backs in our division -saints and Falcons two of the best , you got to stop run. Carolina will be better

  21. Bird Says:

    Plus he has the cool name

  22. Rrsrq Says:

    Why would you trade ME for what you might get. Watching the playoffs and the hand-fighting between receiver and DB was crazy and the receiver gets away with push offs all the time. If Panthers had Benjamin, they might still be playing

  23. AlteredEgo Says:

    I would entertain trade offers for ME….

  24. passthebuc Says:

    its apparent that few know what it will take to fix the buc’s;

    If you wish to win, you build from within, not with retreads.

    Take some talent where we are overstocked and trade for high picks.

    Evans, Winston, GMC, The picks gained from those trades along with the next 2 years of draft picks will build a quality D-line and 2 quality CB’s. You also will be able to acquire a quality safety and 2 O linemen.

    Then you need to coach them up. In the 3rd or 4th year, you are playoff bound.

    However, you do need a top scouting staff to accomplish the task.

  25. SOEbuc Says:

    Norwell would be my top choice to sign a big money FA. He would likely make a huge change in the oline, especially protecting Jameis much more from the left side. That would also mean if Chubb is gone and then we also missed out on Quenton Nelson, we would still have a big time OG, then allowing us to get my third pick at #7 CB/S Minkah Fitzpatrick. One of those three will be there at seven and all their positions are gaping holes for the Bucs.

  26. Gambelero Says:

    Best writing award to Conte P’s first post, which just barely outpaced Ego’s second post. Sadly, no one qualified for the worst writing award.

  27. TRUTH HURTS Says:

    ALL OF YEAH SOUND REALLY STUPID SO TRADE AWAY THE BEST PLAYERS WE HAVE FOR HIGH DRAFT PICK TO BUILD FOR THE NEXT 3 TO 4 YRS AND HOPE IT WORK ALL OUT …CUZ THAT HAS BEEN WORKING FOR THE BROWNS ALL THIS TIME …I DONT SEE THIS TEAM AS BAD AS THE REST OF YOU ….II SAT HERE FOR YEARS AND READ THE SAME THING THE BUCS SUCK WE NEED TO GET RID OF THIS GUY OR GET THIS GUY AND THEN WHEN THAT DONT WORK WE NEED TO GET THIS COACH OR THAT COACH ….JUST A BUNCH OF HATERS!!! I SEE A TEAM THATS A COUPLE OF PLYERS AWAY FROM BEING A GREAT TEAM ….BUT LETS JUST KEEP BLOWING IT UP AND STARTING OVER EVERY YEAR ACCORDING TO U DUMP [email protected]$%#S….iF YOU KNOW SO MUCH ABOUT HOW TO BULD A NFL TEAM Y ARE U NOT WORKING FOR ONE….NO U SETTING RIGHT ON THE COUCH TALKIING BOUT IT…NO FN CLUE

  28. Buccaneer scotty Says:

    You can bring up all the players you want but that doesn’t mean we will sign any of them and if we do all of a sudden they will suck! It’s crazy!

  29. Tom Edrington Says:

    EVERYONE is assuming free agents would be falling all over themselves to come to a 4-12 team in a loaded division…..isn’t always about the money…unless it’s guys like Swaggy…..ugh!

  30. Pickgrin Says:

    Worth a phone call to see if either is willing to talk about coming here – that is if either makes it to free agency.

  31. Lord Cornelius Says:

    lmao yeah let’s trade a 23 year old QB who basically has had Andrew Luck like statistics his first few seasons because we’re surely going to easily just get a better QB because…well because obviously we just will and the Bucs are great at finding them and it’s easy to find a good QB in the NFL…

    My f*cking god man. The sh1t you can read on here is just mind-blowing every day

  32. Lord Cornelius Says:

    24* year old QB – forgot he just had his birthday. Dump him and let’s go find the next Mike Glennon!

  33. AlteredEgo Says:

    Draft Drew Lock…if he announces todays

  34. Guzzie Says:

    Kwon, Evans, Marpet, D Smith, and $30 million a year JW all need to get paid the next 2 years, bye bye salary cap

  35. jeff Says:

    joe doesn’t know talent period he only knows how to start these dumb conversations

  36. Lord Cornelius Says:

    @ Guzzie

    We will have about $100 mill in cap room after we cut the players that everyone wants cut / players who should be cut.

    ME shouldn’t crash the market after the year he had; especially with OBJ also having a hurt year. Antonio Brown is the top of the market at $17 mill – so we could extend ME for like $15 per year. We could also front load that so the cap hits are lesser as the years go on – which is typically what the Bucs do.

    Kwon = at worst $10 mill per year as MLB. Maybe $8 or $9. So those 2 = $25 mill cap hit probably.

    Smith should get average LT $$ – so like $7-8 mill per year.
    Marpet maybe $10 mill.

    Winston obviously will cost the most but they aren’t going to extend him right now – likely will wait to see how this uber sh1t plays out.

    AT worst you’re talking like $45 mill to extend the 4 other players. We’d be able to do that and still spend $55 mill in FA / draft picks – and we aren’t going to extend all 4 guys this year; – maybe $25 mill in extensions I’m guessing between Kwon/ME since they have established themselves moreso than the other players. We don’t even know if Marpet will be at C again next year; and D Smith ahsn’t established himself as anything more than an average LT.

    The cap goes up like $15 mill per year per team. At that rate – we could sign all these players except Winston; spend $55 mill on FA; and then have like $15-20 mill at least in cap room going into the following season. Desean Jackson/Gerald McCoy’s contracts alone could be replaced by a new Winston deal; and you’d have locked all those players up and still have cash to go get another FA or 2 plus your draft picks next year.

    The cap is easy to navigate in today’s NFL. The only difficult thing is getting the right talent here / picking the right FAs.

  37. Chris Schiefen Says:

    Star was there the Revis draft I’m pretty sure (ie, the year we had no pick), and he was MY pick that year if we had one. Bring him “home”.

  38. lokog Says:

    maybe if we were positive of our bucs team instead of being negative all the damn time our luck would be different.

  39. mike10 Says:

    Great move to bring in those 2 guys, and keep Pamphile to back him up or push him to Right Guard.

    I also think DT is as important as DE to focus on. I watched Calais Campbell moving inside and out (to DE) Sunday. Maybe it’s time we stop looking for Gerald to make those around him better, but someone around him to make 93 better.

  40. jeff Says:

    good teams make there own luck

  41. NFLNut Says:

    ********************

    SURE, SIGN STAR LOTULELEI … OR JUST DRAFT HIS BROTHER WHO HE SAID IS EVEN BETTER THAN HIM IN THE 4TH ROUND … OR DO BOTH and then maybe even TRADE GMC for as many picks as you can get????????

    Even the pro-GMC crowd should be interested in that … if we had Star/Clinton/Lowell as our top 3 DT’s and added picks and extra cap space in trading GMC to sign Lev Bell or Andrew Norwell or someone, who could complain with that?

    http://archive.sltrib.com/article.php?id=2342236&itype=CMSID

    ********************

  42. FuNkYxMuNkEy Says:

    Both guys would provide instant upgrades to our team. We have plenty of money to spend and these are 2 examples of the talent we should be targeting.

  43. lambchop Says:

    Conte,

    Money talks. If the Panthers don’t sign them, what better way to stick it to the Panthers than facing them twice a year and reminding them. Nobody hates any team in this league. It’s all a business. Been that way for a long time.

  44. lambchop Says:

    NFLNut,

    I said the same thing. His brother looks legit. Not a high draft pick though. But, in the draft, I really wouldn’t waste a pick on a DT this go around unless we get the other positions taken care of. Really depends where his draft stock is closer to the draft.

  45. Kansas95Buc Says:

    Wait….did somebody really post to trade ME13 or am I tripping? GTFOH

  46. Kansas95Buc Says:

    @lokog

    Was that a McCoy reference lol?