12:08pm: The Panthers have confirmed Cason’s release and Byndom’s promotion in a press release, announcing two more moves as well. The club has also cut veteran linebacker Jason Williams and elevated linebacker Horace Miller from the taxi squad.
10:15am: Another shake-up is coming in the Panthers’ secondary, according to Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk (via Twitter), who reports that Carolina has waived cornerback Antoine Cason. While no corresponding move has been announced yet, I expect the club will fill the newly-created opening on the 53-man roster shortly.
Cason, a former first-round pick, had started 11 of the Panthers’ 12 games this season, but had plenty of ups and downs throughout the year. The 28-year-old was benched on Sunday after allowing a touchdown to Vikings wideout Greg Jennings, and has a grade of -10.2 on the season, according to Pro Football Focus’ metrics (subscription required). Although he has grabbed a pair of interceptions, Cason has also allowed six touchdowns, a 122.2 passer rating, and an 80.3% completion rate on passes thrown into his coverage, per PFF.
The Panthers’ secondary has been inconsistent for most of the season, and Cason’s release marks the second time a notable veteran defensive back has been cut within the last few weeks — Carolina also parted ways with safety Charles Godfrey, who subsequently signed with the division-rival Falcons. Presumably, even in the NFC South, the Panthers are focused less on competing for the postseason and more on taking a look at younger players for the last few weeks of the year.
Assuming Cason isn’t claimed on waivers, he’ll clear tomorrow and will become an unrestricted free agent, able to sign with any team.