Posted by Will Brinson
The Panthers already utilized their franchise tag, placing it on center Ryan Kalil. Such placement led many folks to believe that running back DeAngelo Williams and defensive end Charles Johnson were going to get their sayonara on.
That might not quite be the case just yet -- Darin Gantt of of the Rock Hill Herald reports that the Panthers will place RFA tenders on both Williams and Johnson.
Yes, this is kind of awkward and complicated and yes, it's perfect that it's being done by the team Jerry Richardson owns.
See, under the current CBA, Williams and Johnson -- both of whom have four years of service with Carolina -- would be unrestricted free agents. But without a new CBA in place, these guys will be the "new" Vincent Jackson or Logan Mankins -- to name some high-profile guys who were RFA'd last year; Richard Marshall and Thomas Davis of the Panthers also apply from 2010.
Gantt phrases it best by saying that the tenders "are a way to squat on the rights of a player" until the labor negotiations shake themselves out.
The Panthers aren't going to make the players particularly happy, but they'll also keep from losing the substantial core of their team, at least for now.
That could obviously change if a new CBA is established and Williams/Johnson become unrestricted free agents. But provided the Panthers make use of this tactic, they're at least -- for now -- restricting the potentially imminent departure of some key players.
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