5 contracts holding the Carolina Panthers back right now

The Carolina Panthers have some financial complications in their immediate future.

Miles Sanders
Miles Sanders / Morgan Tencza-USA TODAY Sports
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Miles Sanders - Carolina Panthers RB

  • 2024 salary-cap hit: $7.69 million

The one you've been waiting for…

When the Carolina Panthers traded Christian McCaffrey to the San Francisco 49ers, it was seen as taking a short-term financial hit for long-term flexibility. Fans thought they would go younger - and cheaper - at the position. Sacrificing an All-Pro - one of the league's best dual-threat weapons - dictated as much.

Then, somewhat out of the blue, the Panthers signed Miles Sanders in free agency. The money was decent. It was also surprising despite the player coming off the first Pro Bowl campaign of his career with the Philadelphia Eagles.

It was an unmitigated disaster. Sanders seemed to lose his spark. Injuries didn't help, but there was an obvious hint of regret surrounding this particular acquisition.

The Panthers have a dilemma with Sanders' contract. He's set to count $7.69 million against the salary cap. This is ranked No. 8 among running backs league-wide. Considering Chuba Hubbard surpassed him as the No. 1 option, it's a damning indictment of the previous regime.

Removing Sanders doesn't make financial sense considering the dead-cap money they'd have to sacrifice. A post-June 1 designation makes things easier to a certain extent, but the Panthers might be forced to take their lumps and hope the former second-round pick out of Penn State can bounce back.