What big surprises emerged from the Carolina Panthers setting their initial 53-man roster heading into the all-important waiver wire pickups?
Going through the cut process is always difficult. Players have worked hard league-wide for an opportunity and to have their dreams crushed is undoubtedly the worst part of the process when it comes to NFL roster building.
The Carolina Panthers had plenty of work ahead of them before the league's 4 p.m. deadline. While some releases seemed pretty obvious, there were definitely some shocks thrown in as general manager Scott Fitterer and his staff continue with their ruthless streak that's been prevalent since Matt Rhule received his marching orders.
Many who got the chop will come back on the practice squad providing they clear waivers. There's also a chance some higher-profile individuals get scooped up by other teams looking for additional depth.
That's for the not-too-distant future. For now, here are four big surprises the Panthers made in the process of finalizing their initial 53-man roster in 2023.
Carolina Panthers cut Justin McCray
The Carolina Panthers aren't exactly blessed with tremendous depth on their offensive line. Austin Corbett's absence further highlights this fact, so to see those in power part ways with Justin McCray was something of a surprise.
McCray arrived in free agency and was seen as an upgrade to the rotation if nothing else. However, the Panthers like what they've seen from rookie Chandler Zavala up to now, who looks set to occupy the starting right guard position until Corbett is ready to return.
This left McCray on the outside looking in when it came to prominent involvement. But for the Panthers to cut their losses entirely did raise more than a few eyebrows.