5 extremely early Carolina Panthers salary-cap cut candidates in 2025

Could these Carolina Panthers players get cut in 2025?
Adam Thielen
Adam Thielen / Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports
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D.J. Wonnum - Carolina Panthers OLB

  • Cap saving: $7.5 million
  • Dead money: $625,000

The Carolina Panthers needed to find edge rushing help during the offseason in some capacity. Trading Brian Burns coupled with the losses of Yetur Gross-Matos and Frankie Luvu in free agency meant this was a critical need. They opted to rectify this complication from a starting capacity without adding extra depth competition.

Jadeveon Clowney was the marquee arrival. The Panthers also signed D.J. Wonnum, who performed well for the Minnesota Vikings opposite Danielle Hunter but is coming off a torn quad.

Unlike the rash contracts handed out by previous regimes, the Panthers have given themselves a realistic out where Wonnum's contract is concerned after just one season. If he cannot meet expectations or the torn quad proves complicated from a recovery standpoint, Carolina can save $7.5 million by ending this experiment ahead of time with just $650,000 in dead money.

This should provide Wonnum with the urgency needed to impose himself. But he won't have the luxury of one of the league's best pass-rushers taking up the primary attention, so it could go either way in all honesty.

Taylor Moton - Carolina Panthers OT

Cap saving: $17.49 million
Dead money: $12.24 million

Of all the names on this list, Taylor Moton is the one who shouldn't enter consideration unless there is steep regression attached to his production in 2024. But with a salary-cap hit of $29.74 million on the final year of his deal, something has to give.

Moton is one of the Carolina Panthers' most productive and durable players. He was the standout force on the offensive line once again last time around as everything around the former second-round pick crumbled. With those in power upgrading the interior significantly in free agency, it would be a big shock if the right tackle somehow became the weak link.

Instead of contemplating the $17.49 million in savings attached to Moton's early release, Dan Morgan and Brandt Tilis would be wise to work out a contract extension with the Western Michigan product. This would get his cap number down in 2025 and ensure continuity remains on the edge for good measure.

The Panthers don't have many dependable performers who've stood the test of time. The extra money would help, but replacing someone like Moton is a tough proposition.