Dean Marlowe / Safety Depth
After suffering an injury that derailed his 2016 season, Dean Marlowe enters the 2017 season on the final year of his contract with a lot to prove. The 24 year old safety will be a Restricted Free Agent in the 2018 off-season. Meaning the Panthers can retain his services for one more season if they chose to.
While the young safety has drawn a lot of praise from coaches, and has the confidence that he can be a starting safety in the league. Which you can get a glimpse of below in an interview on Primetime with Kroeger and Parcell on WFNZ (At the 19:45 mark).
He will need to prove it in 2017 as he is likely to see the field more than he has in his career in a thin safety group.
Dave Gettleman will need to sort out with a small sampling size if the the RFA tender should be used on Marlowe or not once the 2018 off-season rolls around. Regardless if Marlowe is retained the Panthers may need to start looking to get younger at safety.
With Kurt Coleman (28), Colin Jones (29), and Mike Adams (36) leading the charge after the release of Tre Boston in 2017. The safety position has become one of the oldest position groups on the team.
The Panthers may need to look towards Free Agency, and the Draft to address this area. Which could become one of the main targeted areas in the 2018 off-season.
The 36 year old two time Pro Bowl safety comes into his first year on in Carolina looking to add some veteran leadership to a secondary full of young corners. Possibly to fill the Roman Harper type of role by pairing up with the veteran safety Kurt Coleman much like Harper did in 2015.
A lot like Peppers, Adams comes in well beyond the wrong side of 30, but having put up a few good seasons in the last 3 years on some pretty bad Colts defense’s.
Racking up 5 interceptions, 2 forced fumbles, 29 assisted tackles, and 77 tackles in 2014. Followed by 5 interceptions, 3 forced fumbles, 1 sack, 23 assisted tackles, and 52 tackles in 2015.
Before a drop off in 2016 to 2 interceptions, 2 forced fumbles, 17 assisted tackles, and 62 tackles.
Adams also like Peppers has his health going for him at his age in the NFL. Adams has remained pretty healthy for his entire career not missing many games.
Despite the numbers, and Pro Bowl appearances in the last few years there are things that make you worry with Adams.
As you can see by some great breakdowns showing the good, and bad by @BillyM_91 on twitter.
Adams will go into the 2018 off-season at the age of 37 in the final year of his deal accounting for $2,425,000 million of the Panthers cap. The Panthers can free up $2,100,000 in cap space by moving on from Adams to use to re-sign other players due contracts.
Adams remaining on the roster after the 2017 season will hinge on his on his performance in 2017. Even if Adams should remain in 2018, the Panthers will need to look to start injecting some young potential talent into the safeties in 2018 like they have with the corners the last few seasons.