It's because the Panthers are no longer all that tight against the salary cap. According to contract numbers obtained by ESPN.com, the Panthers recently were given about $2.5 million in cap room as credit for bonus pro-rations that were already paid.
The Panthers received a credit of $1.625 million for part of a bonus that was paid to running back Jonathan Stewart in 2009. They also got a credit of $937,500 for a bonus that was paid to tackle Jeff Otah that same year.
The Panthers currently are sitting about $3.4 million under this year’s cap.