Carolina Panthers: 5 potential casualties if salary cap reduced in 2021
Carolina Panthers Player No. 5: Stephen Weatherly (DE)
There is a big opportunity awaiting Stephen Weatherly next season. The defensive end will get the chance to fill a more prominent starting role with the Carolina Panthers. And there is plenty to like about his chances to thrive with more responsibility.
Weatherly performed superbly as a bit-part player behind Danielle Hunter and Everson Griffen in Minnesota. The Vikings wanted to keep him around. But they were unable to match the two-year, $12.5 million deal with a $4 million signing bonus and $6.25 million guaranteed given to the player by the Panthers.
What comes next will be ultimately down to Weatherly. He has worked hard to rise up from an unfancied seventh-round pick to an NFL starter. But if he fails to make the most out of this chance. It won’t take long for the decision-makers to move on from the Vanderbilt product.
This appears even more realistic when one looks at the potential surrounding Yetur Gross-Matos. The former Penn State edge rusher fell in Carolina’s lap at No. 38 over in the 2020 NFL Draft. And although he is still a work in progress. He has the potential to step in as a replacement for Weatherly if the veteran struggles during the campaign.
Releasing Weatherly next spring would save the organization $5.95 million in cap space. And this leaves the player with plenty to prove next season in Carolina.