In light of the recent roster make-overs, the Carolina Panthers front office would be wise to part ways with Thomas Davis and Ryan Kalil.
In sudden moves this week, Carolina Panthers new/old general manager Marty Hurney released Charles Johnson, Kurt Coleman, and Jonathan Stewart. While responses varied in reaction to these moves, there is no denying that Hurney has effectively opened up cap space. According to the Over the Cap, the Panthers now boast a cap space of $27.6 million. With Hurney operating as an analytical general manager opposed to a loyal one, there are likely two cuts coming the in the following days.
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Case for Releasing Ryan Kalil
Ryan Kalil has been a solid, serviceable center. However, Kalil suffered injuries for most of last
season. According to Pro Football Reference, during the 2017 season, Kalil missed over 60%
of the Panthers’ games last year. During the 2016 season, Kalil missed another 50% of the season. Doing simple math, Kalil has missed 18 out of 32 games in the past two seasons.
Additionally, Kalil’s replacement, Tyler Larsen, performed admirably in his stead. Larsen flashed strong signs of being a starting center in the NFL while displaying a connection with Cam Newton. If having a ready, in-house option for Kalil isn’t enough, cutting Kalil would open up nearly $6.7 million in cap space.
Case for Releasing Thomas Davis
While it is true that Thomas Davis played well during the 2017 season, the NFC South has developed in such a way that slower linebackers have been rendered useless. Davis simply isn’t fast enough to keep up with the speed that NFC South offenses have been deploying in their running backs and receivers.
- The New Orleans Saints’ offense now not only consists of the pinpoint accurate Drew Brees; it features the most deadly running back duo in NFL history: Alvin Kamara and Mark Ingram. Brees routinely threw five-yard passes that went for 15 yards because of the Karama-Ingram duo. Linebackers are often taxed with stopping these runs, and Davis just doesn’t have the step to keep up.
- The Atlanta Falcons have their own running back duo of Devonte Freeman and Tevin Coleman. The Panthers’ defense was terrorized by these two during the 2016 season, and Freeman was a strong slot receiver. Davis, who has never been great lining up with running backs, was completely exposed by offensive mastermind Kyle Shanahan.
- The Tampa Bay Buccaneers... actually let’s have a moment of silence for the poor Buccaneers… no running game to speak of… poor Jameis Winston…
Thomas Davis simply lacks the speed that is necessary to stop the elite running backs that the NFC South boasts. Luckily, the Panthers drafted Shaq Thompson, who learned from Thomas Davis and Luke Kuechly. Also, Thompson would bring an element of speed on the field that would compliment Kuechly better than Davis while neutralizing the running backs of the division. Oh, yeah, another $3.7 million would be freed up.
Even though it’s cruel to release two veterans that have already announced their retirement plans, this move is completely in line with what Hurney has been doing. During his last tenure as general manager, Hurney was accused of being too emotionally attached to players. Moves like these would destroy those notions, and Hurney would free up large amounts of cap space. The Panthers would have an extra $10.4 million if both Ryan Kalil and Thomas Davis were released.