By Eric Schmidt

After posting a 12-4 record and capturing the NFC South division title in 2013, the start of the 2014 NFL calendar year has been disastrous for the Carolina Panthers. After losing their top four wide receivers from last season, the news got from bad to worse with news surrounding quarterback Cam Newton.

The Panthers announced yesterday that Newton underwent surgery on his ankle to repair ligaments that had bothered him all season. His recovery time has been reported at 4 months, which puts him at late July to return to the field.

This is the latest bad news for a team that is dealing with salary cap issues and is in dire need of receiving help. Free agent Jericho Cotchery was in town for a visit, and left without a contract. The free agent market at wide receiver was thin at the start of the period and has thinned out considerably in the last 10 days.

The retirement of veteran OT Jordan Gross has created another vacancy the Panthers need to fill. Bengals OT Anthony Collins had reportedly been on the Carolina radar, but signed with the division rival, Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

The fact that Newton will have an entirely new receiving corps next season coupled with the fact that he won’t be able to throw until late July, puts the Panthers offense at a great disadvantage heading into 2014.

 

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