Panthers: Release of Kurt Coleman, Charles Johnson signals change

CHARLOTTE, NC - DECEMBER 17: Kurt Coleman /

The Carolina Panthers are making moves to shape the future.

The Carolina Panthers released multiple players Monday afternoon. Two of the more notable subtractions were safety Kurt Coleman and defensive end Charles Johnson.  By releasing the pair, the Panthers were able to clear $6 million in cap space per multiple media reports.

The release of Coleman who will turn 30 in July gave the Panthers $2.65 million in cap space. The release of Johnson, who is 31 years of age gave the Panthers $3.25 million in cap room. As David Newton of notes, Johnson signed a two-year extension with the team last year. Coleman signed a three-year, $17 million extension ($ 7 million guaranteed) in 2016.

Coleman had 76 tackles for the Panthers last season in addition to a fumble recovery and three pass deflections.

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Johnson had 16 tackles in 12 games. He did not record a sack at any point during the season last year. For Johnson, that marked the first time since 2007 that he did not record a sack in a season.

He missed four games last season for violating the National Football League’s substance abuse policy.

In some ways, this represents the Carolina Panthers turning the page as an organization. These moves signify they want to start fresh. With Thomas Davis retiring and the releases of Coleman and Johnson among others, the Panthers are beginning to prepare to go in a different direction in the coming years. They are getting rid of some of the “dead weight” salary-wise and cutting players still relatively young. That gives them time to develop younger talent while keeping their core group of players intact.

In the coming years I think we will see a different Carolina Panthers team than the one we are accustomed to seeing. They will still have building blocks in Christian McCaffery, Cam Newton and Greg Olsen, but I would expect the Panthers to get much younger. They need to if they want to have a successful future. At the very least, they will have something to build on.

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Kurt Coleman and Charles Johnson should be able to find NFL homes soon. At the end of the day, it was best for all parties to move on. It may seem cutthroat, but that is the nature of the business.