"Around the League" is taking a look at each team's salary-cap situation heading into training camp. We continue with the Carolina Panthers.
Adjusted cap number: $126,206 million
Cap room remaining: $8.769 million
Best bargain: Cam Newton earned 67.6 percent of his $22.025 million rookie contract during the 2011 season. He completed 60 percent of his 517 pass attempts for 4,051 yards and 21 touchdowns, adding 706 yards and an NFL quarterback record 14 touchdowns in earning NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year honors. With the benefit of a full offseason, more is expected from Newton, who will earn $1,376,159 in fully guaranteed base salary for a cap just over $5 million in 2012. Overall, Newton will have earned $16.3 million in his first two seasons in the NFL. In comparison, Sam Bradford, the No. 1 overall pick the year before Newton and the new collective bargaining agreement, earned $30.045 million his first two seasons in the NFL.
Potential camp casualty: Knee injuries have limited 2008 first round pick Jeff Otah to four games over the last two seasons. Byron Bell, an undrafted free agent last season, picked up the slack, particularly in the running game. Bell and Otah will compete for the starting right tackle job opposite Jordan Gross during training camp. With the Panthers acquiring the intriguing Bruce Campbell from the Oakland Raiders in exchange for running back Mike Goodson, Otah, who is due $1.076 million in base salary this season, could find himself fourth on the depth chart. He also might find himself a free agent before Week 1.
Contract issue looming in 2013: Running back Jonathan Stewart has expressed a desire to return, but it's hard to envision the Panthers paying him and DeAngelo Williams at the same time. Something would have to give for that to happen. Cornerback Captain Munnerlyn will also be a free agent in 2013, The 2009 seventh-round pick out of South Carolina started a career-high 14 games in 2011, but is ideally-suited to be a slot cornerback. Recent mid-round picks Brandon Hogan and Josh Norman could push for playing time going forward, but Munnerlyn's skills in the slot could have the Panthers looking to keep him around on a multiyear deal.