Carolina Panthers: Live 53-man roster tracker and 2021 cuts (updated)

(Photo by Justin Casterline/Getty Images) Matt Rhule
(Photo by Justin Casterline/Getty Images) Matt Rhule /

Keep up to date with all the roster moves made by the Carolina Panthers in the coming days with our live tracker.

The Carolina Panthers are getting ready to trim down their roster ahead of the 2021 season. This is a process that began after their impressive preseason victory over the Pittsburgh Steelers, with a total of seven players shown the door the following day.

This leaves the Panthers sitting at 71 players ahead of the last round of cuts. Some big decisions await Matt Rhule, Scott Fitterer, and other influential staff within the front office, with their conclusions set to shape the team’s fortunes in 2021.

It’ll be interesting to see how things develop. Carolina has an abundance of talent across the board and some on the fringes have certainly staked a solid claim to make the team despite having few expectations heading into training camp.

Keep up to date with everything going on in Carolina over what’s sure to be an eventful few days with our live tracker.

Carolina Panthers live 2021 roster tracker

One more move need for the Carolina Panthers

The latest announcement was made during practice:


  • S Kenny Robinson
  • CB Rashaan Melvin
  • Waived/Injured: – RB Reggie Bonnafon
  • Season-ending IR: – LS Thomas Fletcher

Carolina Panthers confirm additional cuts including Will Grier

The Panthers are going with two quarterbacks on the roster after deciding to release Will Grier. The former third-round pick performed well during the preseason, but the need for help elsewhere means the West Virginia product was deemed surplus to requirements with P.J. Walker given the primary backup job behind Sam Darnold.

Also among the latest announced cuts were wide receivers, Keith Kirkwood and Omar Bayless, indicating Brandon Zylstra’s special teams’ prowess sees him make the team.

  • Josh Bynes
  • Omar Bayless
  • Will Grier Frank Herron
  • Keith Kirkwood
  • Stephen Sullivan

Carolina Panthers waive Sam Tecklenburg

According to Josh Klein of The Riot Report, the Panthers also waived Sam Tecklenburg. The center got plenty of reps during the preseason, but a lackluster showing in the final preseason game probably sealed his fate.

He is a Matt Rhule guy from their time together at Temple, so expect to see him back on the practice squad providing another team doesn’t acquire him first.

This is a role he filled well in 2020, which would stand him in good stead this time around.

C.J. Saunders waived – could be back on the Carolina Panthers practice squad

According to reports, the Panthers are also waiving C.J. Saunders, who emerged as a camp star. However, Joe Person of The Athletic stated he’ll be a virtual lock to make the practice squad providing he clears waivers.

One could argue this is the best Saunders could have hoped for despite a strong camp. Carolina’s wide receiver options remain strong and it would have taken a monumental effort to force his way onto the team.

Still, this is a solid foundation from which to build for Saunders, who couldn’t have done much more this offseason.

Carolina Panthers’ part ways with Spencer Brown

The Panthers also waived undrafted free-agent running back Spencer Brown, according to The Athletic. He staked a real claim for a spot after impressing during the preseason, but this indicates that the team feels good about the injury status of both Reggie Bonnafon and Rodney Smith.

Brown is a candidate for the practice squad if he clears waivers. But whichever way it goes, the UAB product can leave with his head held high after a strong training camp.

Christian Miller waived by the Carolina Panthers

Just two days after head coach Matt Rhule praised Christian Miller for his efforts in the preseason, the Panthers reportedly waived him according to Joe Person of The Athletic.

This is becoming a running joke among the team’s fanbase. The “Rhule kiss of death” that’s happened on multiple occasions seems strange – but building them up just to knock them down shortly after just isn’t a good look.

The writing was perhaps on the wall for Miller once Darryl Johnson was acquired via trade. He flashed in 2019 en route to two sacks, but opting out of the 2020 season due to COVID-19 health concerns put the Alabama product down the pecking order.

Carolina Panthers released Aaron Monteiro

After being part of the practice squad last season, it appears as if Aaron Monteiro hasn’t done enough to earn a roster spot. According to multiple reports on Monday evening, the offensive lineman has been released to knock one more off ahead of today’s (Tuesday) deadline.

Monteiro was always going to find it difficult to force his way into the team’s plans. Although he might be brought back for this year’s practice squad if he clear waivers.

Carolina Panthers cut Mike Horton

Alaina Getzenberg of the Charlotte Observer reports that the Panthers have parted ways with offensive lineman Mike Horton. Again, this wasn’t entirely unexpected considering their current options and the fact he’s been on the outside looking in when it comes to starting reps this offseason.

Carolina’s offensive line still represents some real concerns. Horton was never going to set the world alight, so it was probably one of the more inevitable decisions regarding the 53-man roster at this stage.

Thie remains a fluid situation regarding the Panthers’ protection. Don’t be surprised if another experienced body comes in before Week 1 rolls around.

Carolina Panthers release Jalen Julius – report

According to Joesph Person of The Athletic, the Panthers informed Jalen Julius he won’t be part of their 53-man roster. The cornerback went through some struggles during his time on the field in preseason games, so it was unlikely he’d go through into a competitive setting.

Carolina doesn’t have much in the way of cornerback depth to call upon with Troy Pride Jr. out for the year and A.J. Bouye suspended for the first two games. Providing Julius clears waivers, he is a potential practice squad candidate moving forward.

This doesn’t come as a great shock. Simply put, Julius didn’t do enough to earn a place on the 53.

Carolina Panthers trade for Darryl Johnson

The fourth trade in 14 days for the Panthers was confirmed when the team announced a deal had been struck to acquire Darryl Johnson from the Buffalo Bills. This was something of a surprise considering the strength across their defensive front, so it might mean the writing is on the wall for players like Phil Hoskins and Christian Miller ahead of final cuts.

Johnson is a huge body that can operate on the edge or as a three-technique. Versatility the Panthers clearly love in all their new recruits.

Just how much he can impact proceedings with so much strength across the line of scrimmage remains to be seen. But this appears to be a move influenced by Dan Morgan – who worked with the player closely in Buffalo before returning to Carolina this offseason in a front-office capacity.

Carolina Panthers cancel practice and media availability

The Panthers were due to take part in a practice session on Monday, which was abruptly canceled along with media availability. This is a strong indicator to expect some news regarding player personnel decisions ahead of the team’s Tuesday deadline for 53.

Look out for waiver wire pickups

The Panthers might be on the lookout for additional reinforcements if the right player becomes available on the waiver wire. General manager Scott Fitterer’s been extremely active in terms of recruitment since arriving from the Seattle Seahawks and this is something Carolina utilized last season when cornerback Rasul Douglas joined the fold after being cut by the Philadelphia Eagles.

This means someone who initially made the team will miss out. Here are five Panthers players who could be cut to make room for a potential new recruit.

Carolina Panthers 53-man roster projection

With the decisions looming large, site expert Dean Jones put together who he thinks will make the team with his final 53-man roster projection.

Only time will tell as to who is given the nod.

Carolina Panthers let six leave

The Panthers parted ways with six more players ahead of the Tuesday deadline to form their 53-man roster.


  • Martez Ivey – OT
  • Ishmael Hyman – WR
  • Paddy Fisher – LB
  • Jonathan Celestin – LB


  • Darius Clark – RB


  • Doug Middleton – S

Matt Rhule explains Carolina Panthers kicking decision

Head coach Matt Rhule outlined his confidence in Ryan Santoso after he won the kicking competition with Joey Slye. The player enjoyed a fine training camp with the New York Giants, but it was clear he was never going to unseat former Panther Graham Gano from the starting job.

Carolina will give up a seventh-round pick if Santoso plays more than two games. If he solves their kicking problems, then it’s a small price to pay.

Rhule was highly complimentary of Santoso during media availability following the move, commending his attitude to make this chance count in limited time.

"“We felt like he was the option we wanted. We had seen enough to know that he was the guy we wanted to bring in here for a few days and see if he’s the right guy for us. For him to get off the plane basically, with a whole new operation, and make a 52-yarder, I thought that showed tremendous moxie from him. So we just felt compelled that he’d be the guy we take the first look at, so he’s here, and we’ll see how he does the next couple of days.”"

Carolina Panthers release Joey Slye after poor preseason

The writing was on the wall for Joey Slye once the Panthers traded for Ryan Santoso from the New York Giants. If it was a kicking battle heading into the final preseason game, things were decided pretty quickly.

Santoso hit the ground running with a field goal make and by converting all his extra points. Slye, on the other hand, once again struggled to find consistency and was cut on Saturday.

It was tough to watch Slye cutting a lonely figure on the sidelines – consoled by long-snapper J.J. Jansen knowing his fate was probably sealed.

He’ll get another shot somewhere thanks to his leg strength. But the Panthers made the right call going with Santoso at this juncture.

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