Olsen, 33, already missed three games earlier this season after suffering a fracture in his right foot. That foot has been a serious issue for Olsen over the past two seasons, as an injury to that extremity also cost him nine games in 2017. He came back incredibly quickly this year, but it’s unclear if that accelerated return contributed to Olsen re-injuring his foot today.
Olsen will finish the 2018 campaign having appeared in eight games, managing 26 receptions for 278 yards and four touchdowns during that time. While he’s been among the league’s best tight ends since joining the Panthers via trade in 2011, Olsen isn’t necessarily a lock to return next season, especially given his injuries. Carolina, which could be making changes to its decision-making structure, would save $3.4MM by making Olsen a post-June 1 cut in 2019.
The Panthers, now on the outside looking in as far as the playoff picture goes, will turn to Chris Manhertz and Ian Thomas at tight end for the rest of the season. If Olsen is placed on injured reserve, Carolina could promote Jason Vander Laan from its practice squad.
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