5 Carolina Panthers players who won’t be on the roster by Week 1
By Dean Jones
Which Carolina Panthers players have little chance of making the 53-man roster in 2021?
The Carolina Panthers have a roster littered with exciting talent, so there might be a strong chance of some big improvements when competitive action rolls around next season. It was a solid if not spectacular first year under Matt Rhule that ended with a 5-11 record, but they went toe-to-toe with some exceptional teams without quite getting things done in crucial moments to emerge victoriously.
This was all part of the learning curve for players and a coaching staff who were all developing on the job. Couple this with an immensely disrupted preparation period last summer and one could suggest the Panthers performed ahead of schedule in the grand scheme of things.
What comes next will be telling. It has been another eventful period of player comings and goings, with quarterback Teddy Bridgewater paying the price for a lackluster year under center with a trade to the Denver Broncos.
The competition for places is now fierce. So it’s going to be an interesting offseason before those in power come to some conclusions regarding their 53-man roster.
On this subject, we picked out five Panthers players who might not be around for their Week 1 opener at home to the New York Jets.
Player No. 1
Trenton Cannon – Carolina Panthers RB
Things look bleak for Trenton Cannon as he looks to earn a spot on the roster next season. The veteran was brought in to provide depth following his time with the New York Jets and also played on special teams throughout the campaign, but the additions made by the organization this offseason make it difficult to envisage a situation where he’ll still be around by Week 1.
The Panthers brought in a dynamic prospect from the college ranks who is set to replace Mike Davis as the primary backup to Christian McCaffrey after the veteran departed in free agency for the Atlanta Falcons. Chuba Hubbard comes with a tremendous skill set and should become a useful asset from the word go, which puts Cannon further down the pecking order with Rodney Smith and Reggie Bonnafon also vying for position.
Cannon could be the odd man out as it’s unlikely the Panthers will carry more than four running backs into the season. Assuming McCaffrey and Hubbard are locked, preference would be for Smith considering his upside and how much he could develop moving forward.
What comes next for Cannon could determine his overall NFL aspirations with so many talented veterans still on the free-agent market.