Bottom line affecting decisions in Carolina big time

There has been some debate on whether the Carolina Panthers asked Chris Harris to take a pay cut or not, but now there can be no denying that the trade the team made last week with the Chicago Bears was motivated by finances.

Panthers coach John Fox admitted as much on Sunday at the end of the team’s minicamp.

“We've got a budget and that had something to do with it," Fox told the Charlotte Observer about the trade for linebacker Jamar Williams, who had been a backup for the Bears.

The Panthers owed Harris more than $2 million in base pay this year and he was due $7.7 million over the next three years, more than Carolina wanted to pay with the team shedding big salaries this offseason at a rate that makes you wonder if Jerry Richardson is suddenly vying with the Glazers to put one of the league’s lowest payrolls together.

Harris followed in the footsteps of Julius Peppers, Jake Delhomme, Na’il Diggs, Brad Hoover, Landon Johnson, Maake Kemoeatu and Damione Lewis, all veterans who have departed one way or another.

The appearance, at least, is the Panthers are going on the cheap before a possible labor showdown. How else do you characterize a move to shed a few bucks for a safety? The article speculates that Richardson, a co-chair of the committee overseeing labor negotiations with the NFL Players Association, “reportedly has ordered team officials to hold down spending this year.”

To this point, you’d have to say it’s mission accomplished.

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