The Carolina Panthers recent roster moves opens the door for young talent or a potential return…
Just as he did during the regular season, Carolina Panthers “new” general manager Marty Hurney wasted no time in making changes to the roster after taking control. When Hurney was granted the interim position during training camp last year, he immediately signed guard Trai Turner to an extension.
During the season Hurney again displayed his willingness to make tough decisions, parting with former first-round pick Kelvin Benjamin despite him leading the team at the receiver position. The move initially seemed to have worked as the Carolina offense was more successful in the second half of the season and the Panthers will complete the deal with two picks in the upcoming NFL Draft.
The latest decision, to part with veteran defensive end Charles Johnson and safety Kurt Coleman make having the extra picks even more beneficial, especially if no free agents are signed at their respective positions. Both the defensive front and backfield were already veteran heavy, so the release of both also serves to open the door for some younger talent – either through the draft or already on the roster.
At defensive end, Bryan Cox Jr. began to see more significant playing time after Johnson was suspended for violating the league’s substance abuse policy. He even earned the right to play in the Panthers playoff game, recording two tackles, as Johnson was a healthy scratch. Daeshon Hall is also a relative unknown. After being drafted last year, the rookie spent his season on injured reserve after appearing in just one game.
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In the defensive backfield, removing Coleman leaves 36-year old Mike Adams as the sole starting safety. Rookie Demetrious Cox played in the first four games but was then sidelined with an ankle injury and Colin Jones saw his playing time increase as a result. The seven year pro is the Panthers next most seasoned safety on the roster with Dezmen Southward and Damian Parms rounding out the position.
Carolina could also look to add either a free agent or draft a rookie at either position but whoever is selected will almost certainly be asked to contribute immediately. This would be asking a lot out of a rookie leaving the door open for a potential return of Coleman.
The Panthers executed a similar move with Johnson prior to the 2016 season, re-signing him one week after being cut to save cap room.