Carolina Panthers camp stock-watch: Stephen Weatherly – DE (DOWN)
Stephen Weatherly’s position as a starter is under threat. The defensive end has worked incredibly hard to secure this opportunity after performing well in a rotational role with the Minnesota Vikings. But the presence of rookie pass-rusher Yetur Gross-Matos is something that should pose serious concern for the veteran.
It is up in the air as to who wins the place opposite Brian Burns on the defensive front. Gross-Matos has been highly impressive at camp so far and he has been getting plenty of work with the first unit at the business end of team drills.
The Carolina Panthers placed a lot of faith in Weatherly when they gave him a two-year, $12.5 million contract with a $4 million signing bonus and $6.25 million guaranteed to prise him away from the Vikings. They are not paying him this sort of money to sit on the sidelines. And a lack of preseason games for Gross-Matos to find his feet might also tip the scales in his direction.
Weatherly is under immense pressure to perform is he wins a starting position. Gross-Matos will be breathing down his neck even more if he turns on the style in a competitive setting. So it will be up to the former seventh-round pick to produce the goods when it matters most.
If he fails to make the most out of this opportunity. Then it could see the player revert back to a rotational role in which he has thrived throughout his career.