Charles Johnson, DeAngelo Williams want to be Panthers

Charles Johnson and DeAngelo Williams were the two who didn’t get tagged on Tuesday in Carolina but their hope is to remain with the Panthers.

The club had to pick one and it chose center Ryan Kalil for the franchise tag, meaning he’ll be guaranteed about $10 million for 2011 unless a long-term contract can be worked out.

That leaves Johnson, the defensive end who led the team in sacks this past season, and Williams, the franchise’s all-time leading rusher, as free-agents-to-be. That doesn’t mean they’re speeding out of town like Julius Peppers did a year ago.

“Yeah, I want to stay here," Johnson told Darin Gantt of the Charlotte Observer. "We'll see what happens with the CBA, but this is where I want to be. I just like Charlotte, like what I've established here, and hopefully we can figure out a way to keep that going."

The interesting situation with Williams is that the team has a pair of other talented rushers in Jonathan Stewart and Mike Goodson. Neither one is as talented as Williams, though, and that’s why bringing him back has to be a priority as well. How feasible it is will depend on what kind of market takes shape for Williams.

“My thoughts are still the same, I want to be here," Williams told Gantt. "But until we get a CBA deal done we can only speculate on the endless possibilities.

"But yes, I want to be a Panther."

The Panthers aren’t going to craft any multi-year contracts until after a new collective bargaining agreement is reached. That will be when free agency begins. Carolina has its work cut out.

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