Panthers Rumors

More Minor NFL Transactions: 8/21/19

Today’s minor moves:

Baltimore Ravens

Carolina Panthers

Cleveland Browns

  • Claimed off waivers: S Montrel Meander
  • Placed on injured reserve: WR D.J. Montgomery

Denver Broncos

New York Giants

San Francisco 49ers

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Bryan Cox Jr. Cited For Speeding, Marijuana

  • Panthers defensive end Bryan Cox Jr. was cited on Wednesday for speeding, possession of marijuana, and possession of paraphernalia, reports Blaine Tolison of WSOC (Twitter link). In a statement, the Panthers said they are aware of the incident and are working to gather information (Twitter link via Jourdan Rodrigue of The Athletic). Cos has appeared in 18 games for Carolina over the past two years, playing roughly 200 snaps in each season. In his latest roster projection, David Newton of ESPN.com left Cox off the Panthers’ 53-man squad.

Minor NFL Transactions: 8/11/19

Here are Sunday’s minor moves, with the list being updated throughout the day.

Arizona Cardinals

Carolina Panthers

Denver Broncos

Detroit Lions

  • Signed: WR Deontez Alexander
  • Waived/injured: LB Tre Lamar

Green Bay Packers

Indianapolis Colts

Miami Dolphins

Minnesota Vikings

Oakland Raiders

Philadelphia Eagles

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Washington Redskins

Jets K Chandler Catanzaro Retires

Jets K Chandler Catanzaro, 28, has retired, according to a team announcement. To take his place on the roster, the club has signed K Taylor Bertolet.

Catanzaro’s job was clearly in jeopardy after he missed a pair of extra points in the Jets’ preseason opener. It was reported yesterday that New York would be bringing in kickers Blair Walsh and Chris Blewitt for tryouts, and the Jets are said to still be interested in Ravens’ kicker Kaare Vedvik, who also caught their eye last summer.

In addition to his difficulties in the first preseason game, Catanzaro had apparently struggled in camp as well. Perhaps he saw the writing on the wall and elected to leave the game on his terms rather than being cut.

Catanzaro, a Clemson product, signed with the Cardinals as a UDFA in 2014 and won Arizona’s kicking competition that year. His first two seasons in the league were quite promising, as he nailed 87.9% of his kicks in his rookie campaign and 90.3% in 2015. But his success rate dipped to 75% in 2016, and he signed with the Jets in March 2017. He experienced something of a bounceback in his first stint with Gang Green, converting 83.3% of his kicks and all of his PATs, and he signed a three-year deal with the Buccaneers last offseason. Tampa Bay released him after he missed two field goals in a loss to the Redskins last November — he ultimately made just 73.3% of his kicks with the Bucs — and he caught on with the Panthers for the last few games of the season.

The Jets saw Jason Myers turn in a Pro Bowl effort last year, but they lost Myers to free agency in March and hoped that Catanzaro would be an adequate replacement. Obviously, that did not turn out to be the case, though as Manish Mehta of the New York Daily News tweets, the Jets could at least recoup Catanzaro’s $500K signing bonus if they so choose.

Bertolet was with the Jets last summer and performed well, but he has no regular season experience.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Ryan Kalil Addresses Decision To Join Jets

In January 2018, Ryan Kalil announced he would retire after the upcoming season. The five-time Pro Bowl center had missed 18 games between the 2016 and ’17 seasons. But after a 16-game 2018 slate, the 34-year-old pivot is back in the league as a member of the Jets.

The 13th-year blocker addressed his decisions to retire, and then return, in a lengthy interview with The Athletic’s Jourdan Rodrigue (subscription required).

I think a lot of that stemmed from the fact that I had two tough injuries back to back that were keeping me off the field,” Kalil said, via Rodrigue, referencing the respective shoulder and neck maladies in 2016 and ’17. “I think I sort of saw it as a sign that maybe it was time to move on, and maybe make peace with that. (In 2018), I had one year left on my deal. And so I kind of wanted to force myself to really enjoy my time there.

And then … what happened was I felt good. I felt great. I finished the season, and I didn’t miss a game. And obviously that was not how I envisioned the end there, and it just kind of stuck with me.'”

The Jets exited last season with the NFL’s worst adjusted line yards figure, per Football Outsiders, but did not make many moves to upgrade their front. They traded for Kelechi Osemele, but going into camp, Gang Green was potentially set to return four starters from a maligned front. Jonotthan Harrison, whom since-fired GM Mike Maccagnan re-signed on a low-cost deal, was the favorite to reprise his role as the Jets’ first-string center. Until Joe Douglas began talking to Kalil’s agent.

I expressed interest in maybe wanting to do another year, be one of those mercenary players that comes in and fills a role, and so I just mentioned it to my agent and told him to keep his ears on the ground to see if anything came up,” Kalil said. “I said it had to be the right situation. … And the Jets came up. (My agent) called me about a month later, and we started talking about it. Then, we started talking with the general manager for the Jets, and it started manifesting into something that might possibly be real, as I continued to train and get stronger and back into playing shape.”

Kalil has gained back almost 40 pounds, after dropping to 260 during his retirement phase, and spoke to several former Panthers teammates about joining another team. The reported value of Kalil’s deal is $8.4MM, but incentives comprise an unknown portion of the contract. The Jets, though, carried considerable cap space (more than $20MM) into camp.

This will also mark the fourth straight year the Jets will deploy a new starting center, with Kalil following Nick Mangold (2016), Wesley Johnson (’17) and Spencer Long (’18). Harrison filled in toward the end of last season. That may or may not extend to five centers in five years in 2020, with Kalil tabling retirement talk this time around.

Well, that’s the one lesson I’ve learned — I’m going to stay in the moment. I think it’s a fair question, but I’m going to see how I feel at the end of the year,” Kalil said.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Minor NFL Transactions: 8/4/19

Here are Sunday’s minor moves:

Carolina Panthers

Denver Broncos

Detroit Lions

New York Jets

Philadelphia Eagles

Minor NFL Transactions: 8/1/19

Today’s minor moves:

Baltimore Ravens

Carolina Panthers

Los Angeles Chargers

Oakland Raiders

Panthers To Sign Tre Boston

Tre Boston‘s lengthy tenure as a free agent is over. The Panthers are signing the veteran safety to a one-year, $3MM deal, tweets Adam Schefter of ESPN.com.

For the second consecutive offseason, Boston had to wait until late July to land a new contract as a free agent. Last year, Boston landed only a $1.5MM deal from the Cardinals, so he’ll now realize a 100% raise for the 2019 campaign, one in which he’ll play for the club that originally drafted him.

Boston was a fourth-round choice of the Panthers in 2014 and subsequently spent three seasons in Carolina, starting 10 games in his final year with the team. He was cut with one year remaining on his rookie contract, and was then signed to subsequent one-year pacts by the Chargers and Cardinals. In both campaigns, Boston started at least 13 games, played at least 950 defensive snaps, and graded among the top 30 safeties in the NFL, per Pro Football Focus.

In 2017, Boston was caught up in a stagnant free agent safety market which saw several starting-caliber players — including Boston’s new teammate Eric Reid — languish on the open market for months. This offseason, however, defensive backs Landon Collins, Tyrann Mathieu, Earl Thomas, Lamarcus Joyner, and Adrian Amos each landed at least $9MM in free agency, but Boston was nonetheless left without a deal.

Carolina can use all the help it can get against opponents’ deep passing attacks, and Boston — who is deployed as a deep safety on nearly snap — can help. Last season, the Panthers ranked just 29th in yards per play allowed on passes of more than 15 air yards, and finished 27th in Football Outsiders‘ DVOA against deep passes.

Some of the blame for that lackluster performance can be placed on Mike Adams, who served as the Panthers’ primary free safety in 2018. Adams, who last year at age-37 posted arguably the worst season of his lengthy career, was not re-signed this offseason. He’ll be replaced by Boston, who along with Reid will form one of the league’s most underrated safety duos.

Extra Points: QBs, Cap, Sanders, Nkemdiche

The latest installment of Mike Sando’s annual quarterback tiers emerged recently, via The Athletic (subscription required). While Russell Wilson ascended into Tier 1 for the first time, evaluators are much less bullish on two of his top dual-threat brethren. Both Cam Newton and Dak Prescott come in on Tier 3, with the shoulder injuries the Panthers passer has suffered in recent years dropping him off his previous Tier 2 placement. The anonymous voter panel, comprised of executives and coaches, placed Newton as the league’s No. 15 quarterback and the Cowboys‘ fourth-year pilot at No. 17. In a separate piece, Sando notes no Tier 3 quarterback who has been paid as a top-10 passer, which seems likely for Prescott by Week 1, has taken his team to the playoffs that season. Newton has two years remaining on his Panthers-friendly deal. Tier 2 quarterbacks, per past Sando surveys, were 8-for-29 in guiding teams to the playoffs with top-10 APY figures since 2014.

Here is the latest from around the league:

  • One of the topics brought up in this year’s CBA talks: the spending floor. Currently, teams are required to spend 89% of their cap over a four-year period. The NFLPA has proposed forcing teams to spend more, Dan Graziano of ESPN.com notes. One of the proposals floated would increase that 89% threshold to 95%; another would involve reducing the number of years factored into these spending equations from four to two. There is no policy in place mandating teams spend a certain amount each year, only through four-year windows.
  • One issue that will likely change in the new CBA, per Graziano: the league’s marijuana policy. The NFL has already softened its stance on marijuana, through a 2014 change, and has now formed a committee to study alternative pain-management techniques. This points to more leniency on the weed front.
  • No team was willing to take on Robert Nkemdiche‘s first-round contract the Cardinals just shed. The 2016 first-round pick cleared waivers Monday and is now in free agency. The former No. 1 overall recruit reported to Cardinals camp in less-than-ideal shape and is coming off a season marred by a torn ACL. It may be a long road back for the 24-year-old defensive lineman, who did register 4.5 sacks (the first QB drops of his career) last season.
  • Emmanuel Sanders returned to 11-on-11 work at Broncos camp Monday, per Nicki Jhabvala of The Athletic (on Twitter). This marked the first such participation for the 32-year-old wide receiver since before his Achilles tear last December. The Broncos did not stick Sanders on their active/PUP list to start training camp, and with more than five weeks remaining before Week 1, it appears a good bet the 10th-year wideout, barring a setback, will be ready to start the season on time.

Minor NFL Transactions: 7/24/19

Here are today’s minor moves, which feature a few recognizable names:

Carolina Panthers

Dallas Cowboys

Indianapolis Colts

Kansas City Chiefs

Los Angeles Chargers

Miami Dolphins

New York Giants

New York Jets

San Francisco 49ers

Tampa Bay Buccaneers