Carolina Panthers Rumors & News

Panthers Haven't Contacted Philly Brown

Although rookie wideout Curtis Samuel is done for the season after suffering an ankle injury, the Panthers have not made contact with old friend Corey Brown, according to Joe Person of the Charlotte Observer (Twitter link). Brown has enjoyed two separate stints with the Bills this season, but he’s yet to actually see the field. The 25-year-old spent the 2014-16 campaigns in Carolina, averaging 26 receptions, 340 yards, and two touchdowns during that time. However, Person suggested on Monday that the Panthers will fill their wide receiver vacancy from within.

Panthers WR Curtis Samuel Done For Season

When Curtis Samuel exited Monday night’s game, the Panthers were hopeful that he had only suffered a high ankle sprain. Unfortunately, doctors gave the wide receiver some bad news on Tuesday afternoon. He has significant ligament damage in his ankle and will have to be shut down for the season as a result, a source tells Adam Schefter of ESPN.com (Twitter link). Curtis Samuel (vertical)

Samuel dropped a would-be touchdown pass in the third quarter and injury was added to insult when a Dolphins defensive back rolled on his foot. The second-round rookie’s season ends with 15 catches (26 targets) for 115 yards plus four carries for 64 yards.

The Panthers could fill the void from within, as suggested by Joe Person of the Charlotte Observer. Second-year pro Damiere Byrd is eligible to return from injured reserve soon and could theoretically suit up in time for the Panthers’ Dec. 3 game against the Saints.

For now, the Panthers are left with four healthy WRs: Devin Funchess, Russell Shepard, Kaelin Clay, and Brenton Bersin. The group was thinned out by October’s Kelvin Benjamin trade and it’s looking even weaker following Samuel’s injury.

The Panthers are 7-3 after topping the Dolphins on Monday night. The Saints, riding a seven-game winning streak, sit atop the NFC South with a 7-2 record.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Panthers' Samuel Done For Year?

  • Panthers rookie wide receiver Curtis Samuel may be done for season, as Joe Person of the Charlotte Observer writes. Samuel exited Carolina’s 45-21 win over Miami in the third quarter after a Dolphins defensive back rolled on his foot. Initially, it was believed that Samuel had suffered a high ankle sprain, but a team source tells Person that it could be a whole lot worse. If Samuel is done, the Panthers could replace him with second-year wideout Damiere Byrd since he can return from IR in time for their game against New Orleans on Dec. 3.

The 10 Best One-Year NFL Contracts Of 2017

Signing a one-year contract is almost never ideal from a player’s perspective — while a single-season pact can often mean a larger salary, it doesn’t come with the security or guarantees that a multi-year deal offers. From a team’s vantage point, however, there’s essentially no such thing as a poor one-year contract. The player doesn’t work out? No problem: he’s off the books in one season and doesn’t hinder the club’s long-term financials.

Not every player listed below was inked with the presumption that they’d become an integral piece of their respective team’s roster, but they’ve all made good on their one-year pacts. Here are the ten best one-year NFL contracts signed in 2017:

Case Keenum, QB (Vikings)

In Week 9 of the 2016 season, Keenum was appearing in his final game as the Rams’ starting quarterback, and had led the club to a 3-5 record while ranking 29th in both quarterback rating and adjusted net yards per pass attempt. Fast forward to the 2017 campaign, and Keenum is 16th in quarterback rating, 11th in ANY/A, and fronting a Vikings team that leads the NFC North at 6-2 — not bad for a one-year, $2MM deal. It’s unclear how long Keenum will remain Minnesota’s starter under center (Teddy Bridgewater is due back next week), but Keenum, who will be 30 years old when free agency opens next spring, has put himself in line to compete for a starting job in 2018, either with the Vikings or with another club.

Josh McCown, QB (Jets)

Although the Jets were thought to be tanking this season, they’ve posted a 4-5 record (a mark that includes close losses to the Dolphins and Falcons), and McCown has been a key driver of that success. Now 38 years old, McCown is posting his best statistics since 2013, and has completed 70.4% of his passes for 13 touchdowns and seven interceptions. He’s been especially productive in the deep passing game, ranking second in touchdowns and third in passer rating on throws of 20 yards or more, per Mike Castiglione of Pro Football Focus. Given his performance and his locker room presence, McCown shouldn’t have any trouble landing another job next offseason.

LeGarrette Blount, RB (Eagles)LeGarrette Blount (Vertical)

While trade acquisition Jay Ajayi figures to take over as the Eagles’ starting running back going forward, Philadelphia has already gotten value out of Blount and his one-year, $1.25MM pact. Blount has handled at least 12 carries in seven of nine games this season while posting a robust 4.6 yards per rush. While he’s scored only two touchdowns thus far, Blount ranks first among all running backs with more than 25 touches with a broken tackle per touch ratio of 39.4%, according to Football Outsiders. The Eagles are the best team in the league right now, meaning they’ll be favored in a majority of their remaining games. Even with Ajayi in tow, positive game scripts should ensure Blount still has a role in Philadelphia’s backfield.

Alshon Jeffery, WR (Eagles)

Following two consecutive down seasons in Chicago, Jeffery took a pillow contract with the Eagles — he’ll collect $9.5MM (and can earn $4.5MM via incentives) before searching for a long-term deal next spring. Jeffery is fresh off his best game of the season, as he posted six receptions for 84 yards and two touchdowns against the Broncos’ vaunted pass defense. While he’s still not creating separation — dead last in the league in yards of separation among qualified wideouts — Jeffery and his contested catch ability are nevertheless a large part of the Eagles’ offense. He’s accounted for 35.03% of his club’s air yards (10th in the NFL), per Next Gen Stats, giving quarterback and MVP candidate Carson Wentz a much-needed weapon on the outside.

Alex Okafor, DE (Saints)

After trying the likes of Bobby Richardson and Paul Kruger of the past two seasons, the Saints have finally found a counterpart to Cameron Jordan at defensive end in the form of Okafor, whom New Orleans lured away from Arizona with a $2MM contract. He’s since played more than three-quarters of the Saints’ defensive snaps, racking up 3.5 sacks in the process. Also excellent against the run, Okafor ranks second among 4-3 defensive ends with a 9.5% run stop percentage, per PFF. All told, Okafor has helped the Saints defense rebound to a No. 16 ranking in DVOA and No. 15 ranking in adjusted sack rate (and those numbers are prior to New Orleans’ five-sack performance against the Buccaneers on Sunday).

Julius Peppers, DE (Panthers)

Peppers is back in Carolina following a seven-year hiatus, and the former No. 1 overall pick is playing like it’s still 2008. He’s 37 years old now, so the Panthers are wisely limiting his snaps — he’s seen action on roughly half the club’s defensive plays through nine weeks. Peppers has racked up 7.5 sacks this season, a figure which ranks eighth among defenders this season and places him fourth all-time with 150.5 career sacks. If Carolina earns a postseason berth — FiveThirtyEight gives them a 52% chance to do so — it will be on the strength of the team’s defense, which currently ranks sixth in DVOA.

Zach Brown, LB (Redskins)

Coming off the best season of his career with the Bills in 2016, Brown was surprisingly forced to settle for a one-year, $2MM deal with the Redskins after initially searching for a $6MM/year contract. And that’s not due to lack of interest, as Oakland, Miami, Indianapolis, and Buffalo all expressed interest in the veteran linebacker before he landed with Washington. Several of those clubs (we’re looking at you, Raiders) would certainly love to have a defender of Brown’s caliber and price available right now. A playmaking machine who embodies a 21st-century linebacker, Brown should be able to land a multi-year pact next offseason, when he’ll still be only 28 years old.

Morris Claiborne, CB (Jets)Morris Claiborne (Vertical)

The Jets’ offseason was primarily dedicated to getting rid of veteran players, but general manager Mike Maccagnan‘s small-scale signings have worked out well, as Claiborne joins McCown as the second Gang Green addition on this list. Claiborne, 27, has always been an effective player when healthy, but injuries have often marred his performance. He’s never played an entire 16-game slate, and he’s managed more than 11 games just once during his five-plus year career. Like Brown, Claiborne can use 2017 as his platform season in order to secure a multi-year deal in 2018 — as long as stays healthy for the rest of this year, that is.

Nickell Robey-Coleman, CB (Rams)

A perfectly-named slot corner, Robey-Coleman was shockingly cut loose by the Bills earlier this year despite ranking as PFF’s No. 33 cornerback in 2016 and being on par to earn just $2.083MM in 2017. The Rams scooped him up on a one-year deal worth the minimum salary, and he’s been outstanding under defensive coordinator Wade Phillips, helping Los Angeles to a No. 3 ranking in pass defense DVOA. Thus far, the 25-year-old Robey-Coleman ranks third among 64 qualified cornerbacks in success rate, per Football Outsiders.

Patrick Robinson, CB (Eagles)

While the Eagles certainly have leaned on their excellent young corps on the way to a 8-1 record, general manager Howie Roseman should be lauded for his one-year, cost-effective signings of Robinson, Jeffery, and Blount. Cast off by the Colts one year into a three-year deal, Robinson signed with Philadelphia for the minimum salary and has since become the Eagles’ best cornerback. Pro Football Focus ranks the former first-round pick as the No. 4 corner in the league, and Robinson is allowing only 56.3% of targets in his area to be caught. While Robinson may not be able to parlay his production into a hefty deal in 2018 given that he’ll be 31 years old when next season gets underway, he’s been a superb addition for the Eagles.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

More Details On Benjamin Trade

  • Interim GM Marty Hurney only talked to the Bills before dealing wide receiver Kelvin Benjamin. The Panthers were looking to get more speed on the field, and they weren’t planning on extending Benjamin.

    [SOURCE LINK]

Panthers Considered Frazier Promotion

  • The Panthers gave some thought to promoting Mose Frazier from the practice squad this week, coach Ron Rivera told reporters (Twitter link via Joe Person of the Charlotte Observer). Instead, Carolina signed Brenton Bersin because of his familiarity with the team’s system. A spot opened up for a wide receiver when Carolina traded Kelvin Benjamin to Buffalo at the deadline.

Panthers’ Marty Hurney Signed Through June

Panthers interim general manager Marty Hurney‘s contract runs through June of 2018, sources tell Darin Gantt of Pro Football Talk. However, Hurney isn’t a lock to stay in his position until that time, according to Jourdan Rodrigue of the Charlotte Observer.Marty Hurney

Hurney, who previously served as Carolina’s top decision-maker from 2002-12, was hired to replace ex-GM Dave Gettleman in June of this year, meaning his contract is for one calendar year. While part of Hurney’s duties as interim GM are to help identify the Panthers’ next general manager, the timeline of his deal indicates he’ll be around for the 2018 draft. Indeed, Hurney has been spotted on college campuses this fall, per Gantt, meaning he’s preparing for next offseason as if he will still be in charge.

In five months as general manager, Hurney has put his own stamp on the Panthers roster. He extended the contract of linebacker Thomas Davis, added incentives to tight end Greg Olsen‘s deal, and — most recently — traded No. 1 wide receiver Kelvin Benjamin to the Bills in exchange for third- and seventh-round picks.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Minor NFL Transactions: 11/1/17

Here are today’s minor moves.

Carolina Panthers

New York Giants

Philadelphia Eagles

San Francisco 49ers

Washington Redskins

Panthers Only Discussed Benjamin With Bills

The Bills and Panthers stunned everyone with a buzzer-beating deal to send Kelvin Benjamin up north. Here’s another surprise: the Panthers did not discuss a potential Benjamin deal with anyone besides Buffalo, according to Ian Rapoport of NFL.com (Twitter link). 

One would imagine that multiple teams had interest in acquiring a young WR1 like Benjamin. Then again, the Panthers weren’t exactly shopping him hard in the days leading up to the deadline. Before Tuesday at 4pm/3pm CT, Benjamin’s name did not surface in any trade rumors.

The Panthers only negotiated with one team, but they came away with a pretty solid deal. They’ve now added third and seventh round picks to their stockpile for the 2018 draft, and that’s more than they would have received in compensation had they allowed Benjamin to walk as a free agent following the ’18 season. The previous regime led by Dave Gettleman was intent on extending Benjamin and keeping him for the long-term, but Marty Hurney‘s front office did not see a future for the former FSU star in Carolina.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

NFL Workout Updates: 10/31/17

Today’s workout updates, with all links going to veteran NFL reporter Howard Balzer’s Twitter account unless otherwise noted:

Baltimore Ravens

Carolina Panthers

Houston Texans

Indianapolis Colts

New England Patriots

New York Giants

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Tennessee Titans

Washington Redskins