5 Carolina Panthers players who could be cut ahead of time in 2023

(Photo by Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images) Shaq Thompson
(Photo by Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images) Shaq Thompson /
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Carolina Panthers
(Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports) Pat Elflein /

Pat Elflein – Carolina Panthers C

Considering how bleak things looked for Pat Elflein before training camp, what transpired before his unfortunate injury represents something of a career renaissance. The Carolina Panthers started the former third-round pick at the center position despite signing Bradley Bozeman in free agency, which brought a huge upturn in production from a player whose career prospects were hanging in the balance.

Elflein was consistent during his time on the field, giving up just one sack and conceding no penalties from 338 snaps. However, his campaign was cut short and Bozeman’s impact since moving up the depth chart has taken one of the league’s most improved offensive lines to even greater heights.

This leaves the Panthers in a predicament regarding Elflein. He’d be a pretty solid backup to Bozeman providing the Alabama product is extended, but with a cap hit of $7.55 million on the final year of his deal, the financial implications cannot be ignored.

It’s taken Carolina a long time to achieve consistency across its protection. Therefore, it is vital continuity with their current unit continues, so extending Bozeman should be among the team’s top priorities next spring.

Elflein’s early release will come with a dead-cap figure of $2.8 million and a saving of $4.75 million. Something that is almost guaranteed all things considered.