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Eleven Panthers Become Free Agents

CHARLOTTE – The Carolina Panthers either re-signed or retained the rights to seven of their potential free agents before the new league year began, leaving 11 players from last season now free to sign with any team.

That team could still potentially be the Panthers, who have been known to bring back their own even after they become free agents.

"The door is not closed for anybody," general manager Dave Gettleman said. "I've been pleased with what we've accomplished through it all."

The Panthers' final signing before Wednesday's 4 p.m. deadline was a big one, with versatile Pro Bowl fullback Christian McCaffrey inking a two-year contract.

Earlier in the process, the Panthers retained the rights to All-Pro cornerback James Bradberry with the non-exclusive franchise tag and to starting right tackle Mike Remmers by offering the restricted free agent a second-round tender. Carolina also re-signed long snapper JJ Jansen, offensive lineman Chris Scott, wide receiver Stephen Hill and linebacker Ben Jacobs.

"All of our UFAs (unrestricted free agents) have been spoken to, either face-to-face or on the telephone, and every guy knows where we're coming from," Gettleman said. "We feel like we're in a good place. First and foremost, you have to take care of your own, and they have to understand where you're going, without any nonsense or silliness.

"Being direct and very honest, that's what we've done."


Below is a breakdown of the Panthers' 11 free agents:

WR Jerricho Cotchery: A favorite target on third downs this past season with 12 NFL seasons under his belt, the last two with Carolina.

CB Cortland Finnegan: Ten-year veteran virtually came out of retirement late last season to serve as nickel corner, a position that isn't clear-cut for Carolina going forward.

OT Tyronne Green: Hasn't played in a game since 2012 and spent last season on injured reserve with an Achilles injury.

S Roman Harper: A leader in Carolina's secondary the last two seasons after spending his first eight years with the Saints.

DT Kyle Love: An important rotational player last season who recorded three sacks behind starters Kawann Short and Star Lotulelei.

P Brad Nortman: The only punter ever drafted by the Panthers averaged a career-best 45.4 yards per punt in 2015 but was below 40 yards in net punting average for the third time in his four seasons.

G Amini Silatolu: Second-round draft pick started 15 games at left guard as a rookie in 2012, but injuries limited him to 19 games over the last three seasons.

CB Charles Tillman: It's fair to wonder if the veteran of 13 seasons who had the last three seasons cut short by injuries will play in 2016, especially coming off a torn anterior cruciate ligament.

C Fernando Velasco: The versatile backup each of the past two seasons was out of football before re-signing with the Panthers last year after Week 1.

QB Joe Webb: Blossomed into a valuable special teams performer who can also play quarterback and even wide receiver if need be.

DE Frank Alexander: The Panthers didn't make a qualifying offer to the exclusive rights free agent who is currently serving a one-year suspension that isn't scheduled to be lifted until late November.

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