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How do the Carolina Panthers Have the Fifth Lowest Cap Space?

The Carolina Panthers currently have the fifth lowest cap space in the league. How can they fix their current cap situation? 
Panthers Cap Space

Carolina Panthers Current Cap Space Situation

The Carolina Panthers currently have the fifth lowest cap space in the league. They are spending as if they are a contending team, but coming off a historically bad season, are far from it. 

Who is taking up the most Carolina Panthers cap space?

Taylor Moton tops the list of largest cap space hits for the Panthers, comprising just over 10% of their total cap space, per Over the Cap. Several key offensive weapons follow, including Diontae Johnson, Adam Thielen, and Bryce Young. 

Most notably, Miles Sanders has the eighth highest cap space hit. Coming off a down season, Sanders has already been floated as a potential cut candidate. Would that be enough to fix the Panthers cap situation?

How can the Carolina Panthers fix their cap space situation?

Sanders is the most prominent post-June 1 cut candidate on the Panthers. However, a post-June 1 cut accomplishes very little in terms of cap space savings. If the Carolina Panthers chose to cut Sanders, they would incur $7.5 million in dead money and only save $200,000 in cap space.

As such, it would be more effective to identify a trade partner beyond June 1st. Under that scenario, the Panthers incur only $1.5 million in dead money and save approximately $6.2 million in cap space.

While Sanders has gotten the most attention, Taylor Moton’s contract has the biggest opportunity to generate flexibility. Currently, his 2024 cap space hit is nearly $30 million. If the Panthers were to restructure his contract, it would save them $8.1 million in cap space. If they instead extended him, they would gain $13 million in cap space.

Should the Panthers just wait until 2025 to address their cap space?

While the Carolina Panthers could save approximately $19 million in 2024 cap space by moving on from Miles Sanders and extending Taylor Moton, they may not be incentivized to do so. Many of the most exciting free agents have already been signed. It seems unlikely that the Panthers are still in the trade market for Tee Higgins. All in all, there is very little the Panthers could do with extra cap space in 2024.

Further, by waiting until 2025, the Panthers will experience very similar cap space savings with those same moves. If all goes well in 2024, the Panthers can then use that cap space to continue addressing roster needs. Those needs include creating a succession plan for Adam Thielen and improving the defensive roster.

The Panthers already have $16 million in cap space in 2025. By moving on from Sanders and extending Moton, they can get to $35 million, before accounting for potential increases in the cap. 

The 2025 free agency class could have several intriguing wide receivers barring extensions. For example, Stefon Diggs, Tee Higgins, Keenan Allen, Chris Godwin, and Amari Cooper are all potential 2025 free agents unless extended. Not to mention the edge class, which includes Josh Sweat, Chase Young, and Demarcus Lawrence.

The Solution

Overall, the Carolina Panthers may be best served taking their cap space hits in 2024 and focusing on developing their existing roster. Considering the circumstances, the Panthers have maximized their 2024 assets by remaking the offensive line, bringing in new weapons for Bryce Young, and resetting the overall team vision. If all goes well, they will be ready for a spending spree in 2025 and 2026. 

Main Photo Credit: Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports


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