Carolina Panthers: Did Dominique Hatfield deserve a chance in 2020?

Dean Jones
(Photo by Wesley Hitt/Getty Images) Dominique Hatfield
(Photo by Wesley Hitt/Getty Images) Dominique Hatfield /
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Dominique Hatfield, Carolina Panthers
(Photo by Hannah Foslien/Getty Images) Dominique Hatfield /

Dominique Hatfield was released by the Carolina Panthers without playing a single down, but was it the correct decision by the franchise?

As it turned out, Dominique Hatfield’s stay with the Carolina Panthers proved to be a short one. The cornerback became a sacrificial lamb due to a series of free-agent moves by the front office following the NFL Draft.

The news would have come as a real disappointment to the player, who looked set for a more increased role in 2020 after joining the Panthers’ practice squad in week 16. This will not be the case for Hatfield despite the corner signing a one-year deal worth $750,000 this offseason.

This is further evidence of what a ruthless business the NFL is. New defensive coordinator Phil Snow and head coach Matt Rhule did not even see Hatfield in the flesh on one practice snap before coming to the conclusion to part ways with the player.

The Panthers clearly think recent Derrek Thomas is a more viable option in the cornerback rotation going forward. He does have links with Rhule from his time at Baylor. But the newest recruit has no NFL experience and it remains to be seen whether he can make the 53-man roster.

Thankfully Hatfield’s release does not result in more dead cap money for the Panthers. They are now dangerously close to the $50 million mark, which is the league’s highest by a comfortable margin.

Injuries have not done Hatfield any favors during his NFL career. But he would have felt deserving of at least an opportunity to fight for a role during training camp.