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Tuesday evening mailbag

JM in Charlotte writes: I haven't heard much regarding Everette Brown so far and he didn't register any stats against the Ravens. Have you heard anything about him? How's he coming along?

Pat Yasinskas: The Panthers have been very quiet about Brown, their top draft pick from a year ago. They’ve talked a lot about rookies Greg Hardy and Eric Norwood and I’ve heard some positive words about Charles Johnson. But I haven’t really heard that Brown is doing anything especially well or badly. He is a guy with good physical skills, so there still is time for him to emerge.

Adam in Columbia, SC writes: I saw Jake Delhomme's highlights and think that the Panthers may have done him a favor by letting him go. Delhomme had relied on Steve Smith for far too long to the point that he locked onto Smitty like a laser.

Pat Yasinskas: No argument here. As much as I enjoyed covering Delhomme and respect him as a person, the Panthers had to make a move at quarterback. There was no way they could have brought Delhomme back after last year because it would have sent a terrible sign to the rest of the locker room. The Panthers had to hand Delhomme the $12 million he was guaranteed and move forward with Matt Moore and Jimmy Clausen.

A.J. in Charlotte writes: While I understand your argument to keep Ward in case Caddy has to go to the repair shop, I believe you are forgetting another proven veteran runner already on the team; Earnest Graham. We have at least 2 fullbacks (Pressley / Taylor) we can use if Caddy goes down and switch Graham to HB. Cut Ward, use Huggins, and if Caddy gets hurt switch in Graham.

Pat Yasinskas: I’m not arguing that the Bucs should keep Derrick Ward, who’s been nothing but a disappointment since his arrival. I’m just saying they may decide to keep him simply to have someone in place in case anything does happen to Williams. At least when he was with the Giants, Ward did some good things. I like Kareem Huggins a lot, but I’m not sure he’s ready or able to be a No. 2 back. He’s undersized and his role might be as more of a third-down back. Yes, the Bucs always could switch Graham back to tailback. But he’s pretty solid as a fullback and has spent the entire offseason working there. I think you only move him in an emergency.

Rick in Marietta, Ohio, writes: On the Derrick Ward front, should the Bucs decide to trade him. Does the NFL work like baseball and basketball, in that can they trade him and pay part of his salary?

Pat Yasinskas: No, if they trade him, the other team would have to take on his contract, which includes about $11.5 million remaining in base salaries. I can’t see another team taking on that salary for a guy who has disappeared like Ward. Plus, if there is interest in Ward, teams might want to see if he’s cut because they could then sign him to a new contract.