Panthers To Move On From Donte Jackson

As cost-cutting season continues around the NFL, the Panthers are among the teams which will be shedding veteran contracts. Carolina is expected to trade or release cornerback Donte Jackson, ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler reports.

Jackson is due a $4MM roster bonus on March 16, meaning a decision one way or another will likely be made by that point. The Panthers will no doubt attempt to find a trade partner before proceeding with a release if necessary. In the latter case, the team will see $5.94MM in cap savings against $9.78MM in dead cap charges for 2024.

One year remains on Jackson’s pact, a three-year, $35.18MM deal signed after the expiration of his rookie contract. The former second-rounder has spent his entire six-year career in Carolina, but he was due to count $15.72MM against the cap in 2024. He was on the trade block in advance of this year’s deadline, but no takers emerged. Now, he will again be available.

Jackson was limited to nine games in 2022 due to an Achilles tear. He managed to recover in full, though, and he suited up for 16 contests in 2023. He totaled 53 tackles while remaining a full-time starter, although he was held without an interception for the first time in his career. The LSU alum also had a down year in coverage, allowing three touchdowns as the nearest defender and surrendering an opposing passer rating of 107.7.

Nevertheless, the LSU alum could have suitors as a free agent in particular. Jackson recorded 14 interceptions and 41 pass breakups across his first five seasons, and managing to play a full campaign in 2024 coming off the Achilles tear will help his value on the health front. It will be interesting to see if any suitors show a willingness to trade for him (and take on the remainder of his contract in doing so) to prevent him from reaching the open market.

Carolina – a team which entered Monday with roughly $35MM in cap space – will now need to find a new starting CB option to pair with Jaycee Horn. The Panthers, of course, also have a number of financial matters to work out with their incumbent defensive nucleus. Edge rusher Brian Burns is a pending free agent, as is hybrid linebacker Frankie Luvu. Defensive tackle Derrick Brown is also eligible for an extension, and talks on that front have begun. In any case, the team’s secondary will have a new look without Jackson in the fold any longer.

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