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saintz08 08-30-2004 04:11 PM

Cap note / Panthers and Saints
When the Carolina Panthers begin trimming their roster Tuesday, talent and need might not be the only considerations.

NFL teams must cut their rosters to 65 players by Tuesday afternoon and to 53 the following week. The Panthers will have to make their moves with a very close eye on the salary cap.

According to numbers obtained by the Observer, Carolina's $493,000 in salary-cap space is the second-lowest in the NFL. The Oakland Raiders ($265,000) have the least amount of room. The New Orleans Saints ($9.9 million) have the most cap room.

The Panthers usually try to enter a season at least $1 million under the $80.5 million cap. That allows an emergency fund in case there are injuries and the team needs to sign replacements.

Don't look for the Panthers to make any stunning moves, but economics will play some role. Some veterans could end up leaving. Safety Damien Richardson, linebacker Brian Allen, receiver Donald Hayes and defensive tackle Rod Walker might already be on the bubble. None of those players make huge money, but their cap figures are higher than the younger players they're competing against.

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