Panthers Free Agents 2012: 15 Players Will Hit Market This Offseason

The Carolina Panthers were a mediocre-to-bad team in 2011 based by objective standards. They were much better than the inept standard they set the previous year, however, and the season will remembered fondly by some thanks to Cam Newton's scintillating rookie season. The 2012 season should be another tough one with the Atlanta Falcons and the New Orleans Saints not expected to take step back in the division, but with a strong offseason the Panthers hope to take another step towards relevancy.

Carolina has 15 players set to become free agents, to varying degrees, this offseason. Among them, only a few were quality contributors last season. Legedu Naanee and Jeremy Shockey were Newton's fourth and fifth favorite options last season based on receptions. Dan Connor, Omar Gaither and Jordan Senn are all UFA's as well, potentially creating a major void at linebacker. Overall, however, the Panthers are set to improve with another year of maturation with the pieces they have in place.

Here is the full list of impending Panthers free agents, courtesy of Mac's Football Blog.

Exclusive Rights Free Agents (4)

WR Seyi Ajirotutu
TE Richard Brockel
LB Thomas Williams
CB R.J. Stanford

Restricted Free Agents (1)

OT Geoff Schwartz

Unrestricted Free Agents (10)

QB Derek Anderson
WR Legedu Naanee
TE Jeremy Shockey
OL Mackenzy Bernadeau
OL Geoff Hangartner
DE Antwan Applewhite
LB Dan Connor
LB Omar Gaither
LB Jordan Senn
CB Cletis Gordon

For more on the Panthers offseason, head over to the SB Nation blog Cat Scratch Reader.

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