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Panthers DE Johnson finishing strong in breakout year

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Dan Parr
Associate editor

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Posted Dec. 25, 2010 @ 12:15 a.m. ET
By Dan Parr

After getting off to a fine start this season, Panthers DE Charles Johnson is finishing it on a tear, making at least one sack in each of the past six games. He's been credited with 11½ sacks in his first season as a full-time starter after making just 10 in his first three seasons combined. He's been the breakout star on one of the league's worst teams, and he'll be a free agent after the season. Johnson, a fourth-year veteran, won't turn 25 until July and he may be just entering his prime, so he'll attract interest on the free-agent market if the new Collective Bargaining Agreement allows players with four or more accrued season to become unrestricted, as the previous CBA did. The Panthers cut back on spending last offseason and they'll have to decide whether to invest in Johnson or let a younger, less expensive player, like Everette Brown, move into a larger role in 2011.

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