The Carolina Panthers' offseason moves didn't yield the results that they expected. Instead of challenging for a playoff spot, the Panthers stumble into Week 18 with a 6-10 record, guaranteeing their fifth consecutive losing season and the sixth time in the last seven years that they won't be making the playoffs.
It's clear that general manager Scott Fitterer has a lot of work ahead of him this offseason. On top of adding players through the NFL Draft and free agency, Fitterer must figure out which players from this year's roster aren't deserving of another opportunity next season.
Here are three Panthers players who won't be on the roster for the 2023 NFL season.
Panthers Offseason Rumors
1. Sam Darnold, QB
After the last two seasons, there are zero reasons to run the Sam Darnold experiment again. The former 2018 third overall pick didn't live up to expectations over the last two years, going 7-9 in 17 games (16 starts) and tallying 3,627 passing yards and 16 touchdowns to 14 interceptions. Darnold is now slated to hit free agency and there's no incentive for the Panthers to bring him back — especially if he wants to make close to $19 million again. Carolina still has Matt Corral in the system and will have a chance to select another high-potential arm at the 2023 NFL Draft. Perhaps Darnold still has something left in the tank, but it's looking likely that he'll have to test that theory elsewhere.
2. Damien Wilson, ILB
After being a consistent starter from 2019 to 2021, the Panthers hoped that Damien Wilson could do the same for them when he was brought in over the offseason. Instead, the 29-year-old didn't live up to the hype, playing more of a backup role as he only started five of 16 games thus far and only recorded 38 tackles (his fewest since 2018) and two sacks. Wilson still has one year left on his deal with a $4.685 million cap hit, but that doesn't mean he's guaranteed to come back. His contract includes a potential out this season that would see the Panthers only carry $1.075 million in dead cap. Considering how that many can be used to sign a more affordable replacement while addressing other areas, I think we've seen the last of Wilson as a Panther.
3. Pat Elflein, C
Pat Elflein was playing fairly well before suffering a season-ending hip injury in October. As great as he can be when healthy, it's been rare to see the veteran center at 100% lately as he's only played 22 games since the beginning of the 2020 campaign. Assuming that injuries continue to plague him, it's difficult imagining the Panthers being comfortable with his 2023 cap hit being just north of $7.5 million. Having said that, Carolina will only eat just over $2.8 million in dead money by cutting him. With the opportunity to also bring back Bradley Bozeman as the starting center, parting ways with Elfein would be best for the Panthers.
Devon Platana is not a FanDuel employee. In addition to providing DFS gameplay advice, Devon Platana also participates in DFS contests on FanDuel using his personal account, username PepeSilvia0. While the strategies and player selections recommended in his articles are his personal views, he may deploy different strategies and player selections when entering contests with his personal account. The views expressed in their articles are the author's alone and do not necessarily reflect the views of FanDuel.
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