4 Carolina Panthers players who could be spared after 2024 salary-cap hike

The bigger than expected raise could be good news for these Carolina Panthers players.

Donte Jackson
Donte Jackson / Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports
3 of 4

Hayden Hurst - Carolina Panthers TE

Another free-agent signing made by previous general manager Scott Fitterer that failed spectacularly was Hayden Hurst. The veteran tight end was brought to the organization to become a dependable pass-catching presence at the position - the first since Greg Olsen departed for the Seattle Seahawks. Unfortunately, it didn't go according to plan.

Hurst struggled to generate any significant momentum. He wasn't alone in that regard. Getting concussed and dealing with post-traumatic amnesia meant his campaign was cut short after nine games.

This was a bitter disappointment for the former South Carolina college star. Hurst got just 32 targets throughout the campaign - 18 of which he brought in for 184 receiving yards and one touchdown. It wasn't good enough.

With a salary-cap hit of $9.91 million in 2024, many wondered if Hurst's time with the Panthers would be short-lived. While that might still prove to be the case, those in power could also opt to keep him around and hope he'll be able to thrive within a more expansive offensive scheme under head coach Dave Canales.

Hurst wasn't utilized correctly under the previous coaching staff. Much like the situation with Miles Sanders, the primary decision-makers could give the former first-round pick the benefit of the doubt and make him a bigger part of the offensive game plan with extra salary-cap space to call upon.