3 easiest salary cap decisions Carolina Panthers can make in 2023

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

Carolina Panthers cut Pat Elflein

  • Cap savings – $4.26 million

Considering how bleak things looked for Pat Elflein after a turbulent first season with the Carolina Panthers, his time on the field in 2022 represented improvement. However, things progressed significantly at the center position once the veteran got injured and was replaced by Bradley Bozeman, who is among the biggest priorities for a contract extension before free agency.

Elflein’s future looks murky, to put it mildly. He’s still working his way back from the complication that ended his campaign way ahead of time, but paying a backup offensive lineman $7.06 million just doesn’t seem feasible in Carolina’s current financial state.

Of course, this all changes if Bozeman and the Panthers go their separate ways. Even if the chances of this are remote given how well he played and his influence across the community for good measure.

Releasing Elflein represents a dead-cap figure of $2.8 million and a saving of $4.26 million. Considering his waning influence if Bozeman sticks around and the player’s current injury status, it feels like a no-brainer.

Giving Elflein a three-year deal within hours of the 2021 legal tampering period beginning was a grave error in judgment. Hopefully, the new team of decision-makers will be much more prudent with their financial allocation.