What does the Kony Ealy pick mean for Panthers DEs?

May 10, 2014 § Leave a comment

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The Panthers are a team with obvious needs. A pass rusher was not one of them.

But that didn’t stop Panthers GM Dave Gettleman from taking Missouri DE Kony Ealy with the team’s second round pick.

With Charles Johnson and Greg Hardy coming of the edge, the Panthers led the NFL in sacks in 2013, but the duo will count over $29.5 million against the cap next season.

Johnson will likely be playing his last season in a Panthers uniform in 2014. The team can save $11.42 million in cap space by cutting the veteran next offseason, according to Spotrac.

That should clear up enough money for the Panthers to re-sign Hardy, who’s playing under the franchise tag this up-coming season. Hardy is a more complete player compared to Johnson, who isn’t as effective against the run. Ealy should be able to replace Johnson next season without too much of a drop off.

The Panthers are in desperate need of cap space with franchise cornerstones Cam Newton and Luke Kuechly both needing contract extensions in the next few years.

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