Did the Carolina Panthers give up on Troy Pride Jr. too soon?

(Trevor Ruszkowski-USA TODAY Sports) Troy Pride Jr.
(Trevor Ruszkowski-USA TODAY Sports) Troy Pride Jr. /

The Carolina Panthers waived cornerback Troy Pride Jr. this week, but did they give up on the former fourth-round pick too soon? 

There will be plenty of personnel turnover within the Carolina Panthers between now and when the time comes to officially declare their 53-man roster. General manager Scott Fitterer is always eager to get as many players into the building as possible and is not afraid to move on from certain individuals if they are not pulling their weight.

One such move occurred this week when the Panthers waived Troy Pride Jr. with a failed medical designation. A real blow to the speedy cornerback, who missed the entire 2021 campaign with a serious knee problem.

Pride Jr. came into the organization with intrigue as a fourth-round pick during the 2020 NFL Draft. His production at Notre Dame was encouraging and the player possessed the high athletic attributes that the Panthers clearly value highly in almost every new recruit from the college level.

It was always going to be a work in progress for Pride, who struggled to find his feet when on the field as a rookie. The defensive back gave up 70.7 percent of targets thrown his way, he conceded a 117.8 passer rating when targeted, and also found life difficult against the run en route to a disappointing 39.3 grade from Pro Football Focus.

Now, this is not entirely uncommon for young cornerbacks. They get a rude awakening more than most unless truly elite, so it was far too soon to be giving up on Pride heading into the team’s 2021 training camp.

Things took an extremely concerning turn for the player during Carolina’s preseason opener, tearing his ACL and ruining any chance Pride had of making a bigger impression in Year 2 of his professional career.

Carolina Panthers have enough CB depth to cope without Troy Pride Jr.

Such knee injuries take time and certainly with someone like Pride. As it turned out, the Panthers felt like the necessary targets had not been met and the corner will now begin looking for a new home.

Whether the Panthers gave up on Pride too early is debatable.

Even if Pride had returned to 100 percent fitness, he faced a real uphill battle to carve out a role for himself within a cornerback room that is loaded with talent despite letting Stephon Gilmore leave for the Indianapolis Colts in free agency.

Although this was undoubtedly a blow to Pride, the player does have the right characteristics to write another chapter providing there are no further complications on the health front. His speed, for example, indicates that a special team role elsewhere is not entirely out of the question.

Life is full of twists and turns.

The same applies to football and teams are often pretty ruthless when it comes to decisions such as this.

All Pride can do now is dust himself off, keep processing to a satisfactory level regarding his rehabilitation and wait for the phone to ring.

If someone does call, it’s absolutely vital he makes the most out of whatever opportunity comes next.

As for the Panthers, they have enough in the secondary to cope without Pride. And they also have enough in the way of salary-cap space to acquire someone else if those in power feel it’s needed.

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Nobody will wish Pride anything other than good luck moving forward. It will be interesting to see what comes next for the player even if things didn’t quite work out in Carolina.