Panthers Making the Case: Charles Johnson
Should the Carolina Panthers extend Charles Johnson or let him walk in 2017?
As the offseason approaches and free agency gets closer, we will make the case for and against signing each Carolina Panthers free agent. For this second edition, we examine the case of defensive end Charles Johnson. Should he stay or go in 2017?
Where else would he go? Johnson has been on the Panthers roster since 2007. A former Georgia Bulldog, he has been a teammate of Panthers’ linebacker Thomas Davis for over a decade. At this point it would feel weird to see Johnson finish his career without Davis on a different team.
Johnson is now 30 and while his prime appears to be over, the Panthers have moved more towards a rotation of defensive ends. Such a rotation will keep Johnson’s legs fresh, giving him an ability to extend his career while still bringing decent play.
Johnson has mentioned he wants to re-sign in Carolina and likely can be retained at a fairly cheap price. If that is the case, the Panthers should pay that price.
This is a guy who is on the downside of his career and has five sacks in his last two seasons
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combined. One could argue his production dipped because Johnson missed ten games the past two years. However, for a guy who went from 2010-2014 and only missed three games, missing that much time has to also set off some obvious alarms.
Johnson has been a Panther throughout his entire professional career and it is always a nice story to see a player stick with the team that drafted him. At the same time, the Panthers need to make changes to their current roster and while the life-long player story is nice, it does not win football games.
It is tough to throw money at Johnson, then expect to outbid anyone for free agents or even retain a younger, more productive Mario Addison.