C.J. Saunders

Panthers Trim Roster To 53 Players

The Panthers trimmed their roster to 53 players today, meaning a long list of players earned their walking papers:

Released:

Waived:

Waived/injured:

Placed on IR:

The most notable move was kicker Zane Gonzalez landing on injured reserve, making him ineligible to return for the 2022 campaign. Gonzalez injury himself on Friday night while warming up on the sideline. It was later revealed that he suffered a significant groin injury, and that injury ended up being season-ending. The Panthers worked out five potential replacements yesterday.

Juston Burris started 20 of his 23 games for the Panthers over the past two seasons. After collecting a career-high 53 tackles in 2020, the safety finished with only 23 tackles this past year, with Pro Football Focus ranking him 77th among 92 qualifying safeties. He was on the roster bubble following the offseason pickup of Xavier Woods. Brandon Zylstra has seen time in 37 games for the Panthers over the past three years, hauling in 29 receptions for 391 yards and one touchdown. Yesterday’s trade for Laviska Shenault Jr. only pushed him further down the depth chart, leading to his release.

NFL Reserve/Futures Contracts: 1/10/22

A bunch of teams had their seasons come to an end yesterday, and these front offices are now starting to prepare for the offseason. Today, a number of players were inked to reserve/futures contracts, which allows organizations to retain (mostly) young, practice squad players throughout the offseason. We’ve compiled today’s reserve/futures contracts below:

Baltimore Ravens

Carolina Panthers

Cleveland Browns

Denver Broncos

Detroit Lions

Houston Texans

Jacksonville Jaguars

Minnesota Vikings

New Orleans Saints

New York Giants

New York Jets

Seattle Seahawks

Washington Football Team

Minor NFL Transactions: 1/8/22

Here are Saturday’s minor moves:

Arizona Cardinals

Atlanta Falcons

Baltimore Ravens

Carolina Panthers

Chicago Bears

Cincinnati Bengals

Cleveland Browns

Dallas Cowboys

Detroit Lions

Green Bay Packers

Houston Texans

Indianapolis Colts

Jacksonville Jaguars

Las Vegas Raiders

Los Angeles Chargers

Los Angeles Rams

Minnesota Vikings

New England Patriots

New Orleans Saints

New York Giants

New York Jets

Philadelphia Eagles

Pittsburgh Steelers

San Francisco 49ers

Seattle Seahawks

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Tennessee Titans

Washington Football Team

Wednesday NFL Transactions: NFC South

Following the 53-man roster cutdown deadline Tuesday, many teams will make slight tweaks to their rosters. In addition to waiver claims, teams can begin constructing their 16-man practice squads today. These moves for the BuccaneersFalconsPanthers and Saints are noted below.

Here are Wednesday’s NFC South transactions, which will continue to be updated throughout the day.

Atlanta Falcons

Claimed:

Signed to practice squad:

Carolina Panthers

Release from IR:

Signed to practice squad:

New Orleans Saints

Released: 

  • K Aldrick Rosas; Rosas is expected to re-sign later this week, Tom Pelissero of NFL.com tweets

Claimed:

Signed to practice squad:

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Signed to practice squad:

Panthers Set Initial 53-Man Roster

Add the Panthers to the list of teams who have officially trimmed their roster down to the required 53 players. Remember this is only the initial roster, so not everybody who was spared Tuesday will make it through to the regular season after the waiver wire frenzy the next few days.

Here’s the list of players Carolina cut on Tuesday:

Released:

Waived:

Placed on season-ending IR

You’ll probably recognize at least a few names on this list, including Bynes, Grier, Kirkwood, and Bonnafon. Bynes is a veteran linebacker with 117 appearances and 63 starts under his belt since entering the league all the way back in 2011. He started all 16 games for the Bengals last year, but it took him until just a few weeks ago to get signed by Carolina.

Grier is the West Virginia product who had a fair amount of buzz coming out of college. Despite some initial talk that he could get drafted in the first or second-round, he ended up as a third-round pick in 2019. He ended up starting two games for the Panthers as a rookie, struggling mightily while tossing four interceptions and no touchdowns. Carolina is throwing in the towel after just two seasons, electing to roll with only P.J. Walker behind Sam Darnold. Grier should be able to at least end up on somebody’s practice squad.

Panthers Waive QB Tommy Stevens

Tommy Stevens brief stint with the Panthers has come to an end. The team announced that they’ve waived the quarterback. The team signed rookie wideout C.J. Saunders to take the open roster spot.

Stevens was in and out of the lineup during his time at Penn State and Mississippi State, but he showed promise both with his arm and on the ground. Thanks to that potential, he was drafted by the Saints in the seventh round of the 2020 draft…but the team made the bold decision of switching him to tight end. He didn’t end up making New Orleans active roster, but he did stick around their practice squad for most of the campaign.

He later caught on with the Panthers (as a quarterback), and he ended up making his NFL debut in Carolina’s Week 17 loss to the Saints. Stevens got four carries in that game for 24 rushing yards.

With the move, the Panthers are now rostering three quarterbacks: Sam Darnold, P.J. Walker, and Will Grier.

Saunders was a former walk-on cornerback at Ohio State, but he ended up transforming into one of the team’s most reliable receivers. He had 27 receptions in two seasons at Ohio State, and he was named a captain in 2019 before succumbing to an injury. He spent rookie minicamp with the Falcons organization.