The Carolina Panthers and the veteran parted ways Monday afternoon….
Players come and go during the course of an offseason, and for Carolina Panthers wideout Russell Shepard, he was part of the latter process. The team released Shepard on Monday.
Per Joe Person of the Charlotte Observer, the organization requested that Shepard take a pay cut. He disagreed and is now a free agent.
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The Panthers signed Shepard to a three-year $10.5 million contract in March of 2016.
Shepard did not put up big numbers in 2017. He recorded 17 catches for 202 yards and a touchdown in his lone season with the Panthers. Prior to his stay in Carolina, Shepard spent four seasons as a member of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. He amassed 30 catches for 432 yards and three touchdowns during his stint in Tampa Bay.
His best season statistically came in 2016. That year, he caught 23 passes for 341 yards and two touchdowns. In addition, he showed he could spread the field a bit, averaging 14.8 yards per reception.
One of the major reasons why it was probably best for both parties to part ways was the depth at the recever position. Torrey Smith, Devin Funchess, Curtis Samuel, and Jarius Wright are among the talent that is going to be vying for playing time at the position. There is a logjam there, and it isn’t something that would be easily fixable. Perhaps the logjam made it an easier decision to cut Shephard.
If this offseason showed anything, it was that the Panthers knew they had to go out and revamp their receivers. They certainly did that, and with additions come cuts. Unfortunately for Shepard, he was on the latter end of the spectrum.
Hopefully, he will land on his feet somewhere and be an asset to another team. As for now, his tenure as a member of the Carolina Panthers has come to an end.