4 first-year Carolina Panthers players who could be gone in 2024

These players could be on the way out.

Adam Thielen
Adam Thielen / Morgan Tencza-USA TODAY Sports
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Hayden Hurst - Carolina Panthers TE

The situation surrounding Carolina Panthers tight end Hayden Hurst is a complex one. It must be approached delicately with the well-being of the player at the forefront of any decision made.   

When Hurst signed a three-year, $21.75 million contract, he was expected to be a significant factor for rookie quarterback Bryce Young. As has been the case with Panthers' tight ends since Greg Olsen’s departure, he was used sparingly in the passing game. The former South Carolina Gamecock had just 18 receptions for 184 receiving yards and a solitary touchdown.   

Hurst’s season was curtailed in Week 10 when he suffered a concussion in the Thursday Night Football matchup against the Chicago Bears. His father Jerry tweeted that he was dealing with post-traumatic amnesia following the injury. Despite returning to practice, he was placed on season-ending injured reserve.

Head injuries are nothing to be played around with. Any decision made moving forward must be with the player's best interest at heart. Fans know all too well the impact concussions can have. The images of a tearful Luke Kuechly being carted off the field against the New Orleans Saints after suffering one in 2016 remain ingrained.

As with both Miles Sanders and Adam Thielen, the best financial option for the Panthers would be trading Hurst with a post-June 1 designation, saving them $7.8 million against the cap with a $2 million dead cap hit.   

Whether someone would give up draft capital for a player coming off such a serious injury is another question.

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