A look at the wide receiver position in my series on where the money is for the Carolina Panthers:
Total position spending versus cap: $9,969,672
Spending versus league average: 30th
Player and his hit on the salary cap:
Jerricho Cotchery: $1,950,000
Ted Ginn, Jr.: $1,850,000
Kelvin Benjamin: $1,741,875
Devin Funchess: $1,003,797
Jarrett Boykin: $700,000
Stephen Hill: $594,500
De'Andre Presley: $585,000
Mike Brown: $585,000
Corey Brown: $515,000
Marcus Lucas: $444,500
Analysis: This may put where Carolina is spending-wise at wide receiver in perspective: Steve Smith was set to count about $7 million against the salary cap in 2014 when the Panthers released their all-time leading receiver. The total amount dedicated to the 2015 cap among ten receivers is $9,969,672. The biggest hit comes from Cotchery, who is more valuable in terms of experience than for anything he does on the field. There’s a good chance the 33-year-old receiver will be no better than fourth in production this season.
Having said that, quarterback Cam Newton potentially has better receiver weapons now than at any point of his career in 2014 first-round pick Benjamin, 2015 second-round pick Funchess, 2014 undrafted rookie Brown, Hill and Ginn. That the top two are locked into their rookie contracts for several years will allow the team to spend on other positions of need moving forward. One can debate whether there’s still the need for a dynamic speed receiver if Brown doesn’t produce. But otherwise Carolina has done a nice job of rebuilding a position that a year ago replaced its top four producers from 2013.