11:33am: Speaking to reporters about Avant’s release, head coach Ron Rivera said the decision was about creating more opportunities for young wideouts like Brenton Bersin and Philly Brown (Twitter link via Joseph Person of the Charlotte Observer). Rivera added that he knew nothing about Avant’s comments questioning Sunday’s play-calling, insisting this was a football move (Twitter links).
The Panthers have promoted receiver De’Andre Presley from their practice squad to replace Avant.
11:28am: The Panthers are releasing wide receiver Jason Avant, according to Mike Garafolo of FOX Sports (via Twitter). As is the case for all players – even vested veterans – after the trade deadline, Avant will be subject to waivers, so he’ll either be claimed by another team or hit the open market.
Agent Doug Hendrickson first indicated that his client had been cut by the Panthers during the team’s bye week, tweeting, “Much better things ahead and role for Jason Avant. Definitely deserves better.” Hendrickson’s comment suggests that perhaps he and Avant weren’t happy with the way things were handled by the front office in Carolina. The wideout’s release comes on the heels of slightly critical comments he made about the team’s conservative playcalling after Sunday’s loss to the Falcons.
“I’ve been in the league a long time. I know two things. You never want to give a team a chance to win a game, with how much time was left on the clock,” Avant said on Sunday, referring to the game’s fourth quarter. “And asking a kicker to make a 50-yard field goal with the game on the line is rough sledding.”
In 11 games with Carolina this season, Avant grabbed 21 balls for 201 yards and a touchdown. After cutting him, the Panthers will have an open spot on their 53-man roster, so a corresponding move will likely be announced soon.