The Panthers may be holding out their hand for financial assistance from Broward County, but on Friday new owner Vinnie Viola gave General Manager Dale Tallon carte blanche to spend the maximum amount allowed within the mandated salary cap to acquire elite free agents.

Viola, co-owner Douglas Cifu and Tallon held their midseason budget meeting Friday, and the message was clear.

"This team's been bleeding money for a long time, but I've been told we're going to be a cap team and want to try to break even. They want to invest money into the team,'' Tallon told the Sun Sentinel after morning skate Saturday at Prudential Center.

"They want to win. That's what's going on here. They've given me the green light to be a cap team. So that's fantastic. Not a floor team, a cap team. We're excited.''