Why releasing Efe Obada was a mistake by the Panthers

(Photo by Jacob Kupferman/Getty Images) Efe Obada
(Photo by Jacob Kupferman/Getty Images) Efe Obada /

The Carolina Panthers might have made a mistake by releasing defensive end Efe Obada.

The Carolina Panthers made the surprising move to waive Efe Obada to make room for their three waiver wire pickups. The popular defensive lineman might still come back to the team as a practice squad candidate. But it would be a huge surprise if another organization did not pick him up to boost their options upfront.

Obada’s story was an inspirational one that was hard not to get behind. The defensive end did not start playing football until later in life and the game has opened opportunities that he would never have experienced otherwise. New head coach Matt Rhule was glowing in his praise of the player during training camp. But the Carolina Panthers have now decided to go in a different direction.

There is no room for sentiment with the Carolina Panthers.

This represents a significant blow for Obada, who just a few short hours prior to his release posted his gratitude for making the team on Twitter. The NFL is a ruthless business that has little sympathy for player situations and the Panthers thought this was the best chance they have of proving the doubters wrong in 2020.

Their decision to part ways with Obada outlines some tremendous confidence in their defensive front. The Panthers have plenty of playmakers who can make things happen on their front seven. But whether this can mask the evident deficiencies in their secondary is another matter entirely.

Obada’s ability to play anywhere on the defensive line is something that Carolina’s coaching staff sought heavily during their recruitment process in recent months. It seems that getting praise from Rhule might be a kiss of death for a player if recent events are any indication and only time will tell as to whether the former Baylor man made the right call here.

There was no denying the work Obada put in at camp. He was often seen as the first player out on the field before scheduled practice got underway. This sort of commitment is something that became prevalent throughout his time in Carolina and is sure to be an asset for whatever team he ends up on next.

Obada’s physical attributes alone should get him a shot elsewhere. His potential is still relatively untapped given his advancing years and there is just no telling how much better he can become.

The Panthers eventually came to the conclusion that other areas of need took precedent over a supposed luxury such as Obada. They bolstered their offensive line and added another experienced player to their cornerback corps. It is hard to argue that this was not needed.

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This does not detract from just what an impressive story Obada’s is. It is not the end of his NFL journey by any stretch of the imagination. But what comes next with be crucial for the player.