The Carolina Panthers have until March 12 to trim about $10 million in salaries, but coach Ron Rivera is staying mum on the Panthers plans.
However, Rivera did say the plan to reach the $121 million salary cap is taking shape.
Were very close with all the things weve got to start doing, Rivera said after giving the keynote address and the NFL-NCAA Coaches Academy on Sunday night. New Panthers general manager Dave Gettleman has been sitting down and talking to our guys in terms of cap. All that stuffs being put into place right now.
In the past month, the Panthers have restructured the contracts of Pro Bowl center Ryan Kalil and running back Jonathan Stewart. Kalils deal freed up about $3.45 million in cap space, but Stewarts added about $200,000.
Transferring some of Stewarts contract money into guaranteed base salary raised questions about the future of DeAngelo Williams, the franchises leading rusher. Rivera, unwilling to talk about specific players, bristled at that notion.
Were going through the whole thing first and foremost before those decisions are made, he said.
League sources say cutting nine-year veteran cornerback Chris Gamble is expected to be the first big move for Gettleman and Carolina. That would free $7.9 million in cap space.
The Panthers have three starters set to be free agents defensive tackle Dwan Edwards, safety Sherrod Martin and cornerback Captain Munnerlyn.
Were preparing for free agency, Rivera said. Weve got all the names down, and were looking at all the potential guys we like. Obviously weve got our own guys too that were concerned with and were looking at.
Rivera and his staff will travel to Indianapolis this week for the NFL scouting combine in preparation for the Aprils 2013 NFL draft.