Next up: No. 7, OLB Chase Blackburn
Reason to re-sign: He’s a good leader and has been a solid special-teams player. More importantly, he doesn’t mind playing special teams. He told me after the season he believes he has a couple of years left, and he’s OK if that means helping special teams improve. Without him and a couple of other key players special teams took a dramatic step backwards last season.
Reason not to re-sign: He’s 31 and started only nine games the past two seasons due to injuries. He played in only six games last season before going on injured reserve with a knee injury. The Panthers have two young players, A.J. Klein and Adarius Glanton, which played well after Blackburn went down.
Prediction: This one will be interesting. General manager Dave Gettleman loves Blackburn. Both were with the New York Giants together. Blackburn is an asset on special teams, and Gettleman said the team is recommitting to keeping players just for special teams. It simply could be a numbers game at linebacker. Right now the numbers don’t look good for a return.