It all depends on the CBA. I think Jerry Richardson is holding off on spending any money until CBA talks heat up or a deal is done. That is why you've seen the Panthers get rid of a lot of veteran players and build through the draft, as well as let the younger players on their roster showcase their talents.
This all plays in to the John Fox situation. Why would JR have John Fox under contract when their might be a lockout next season? You see Marty Hurney still there because there will still be a draft and there will be roster moves.
Thus, I believe John Fox is on the hot seat, but I think there is a lot more to think about then Carolina's performance on the field, since Fox has been pretty damn good over the years.