Eku Leota

Panthers Designate CB Jaycee Horn For Return, Activate TE Ian Thomas

NOVEMEBER 18: Horn will remain on injured reserve for now, but Thomas has been activated, per a team announcement. The latter will have a large role to play immediately upon return since Hurst is out with a concussion. Thomas will aim to give Carolina a needed complementary option in the passing game late in the year with the jobs of several members of the organization potentially on the line.

NOVEMBER 13: The Panthers have been hit hard on the injury front this season, but a pair of reinforcements are on the way. The team announced on Monday that cornerback Jaycee Horn and tight end Ian Thomas have returned to practice.

Both players’ 21-day activation windows have been opened as a result. They must be activated within that span to avoid reverting to season-ending injured reserve. Horn has been eligible to return for some time now, but it was clear when he was initially placed on IR that a lengthy absence would be coming. A hamstring injury has kept the 23-year-old sidelined since Week 1.

Horn named remaining healthy as a key goal for his third season in Carolina, but injuries have remained a major factor in his young career. The former first-rounder was limited to just three games as a rookie, and he missed another four contests last year. After recording 53 tackles and three interceptions in 2022, though, his return will be a welcomed development for a Panther defense which, in his absence, has delivered a strong showing against the pass so far.

Thomas’ return will add depth to Carolina’s TE room, one which has been led by free agent addition Hayden Hurst. Thomas – who has missed the past four games due to a calf injury – showed promise as a rookie with 333 receiving yards, but he has yet to eclipse the 200-yard mark since then. The 27-year-old logged a career-low 24% snap share during his five games in 2023 prior to being placed on IR. Once back on the field, he will offer a complementary passing option as well as another contributor with respect to run blocking.

In anticipation of bringing Horn and Thomas back onto the 53-man roster, the Panthers also announced a number of other moves on Monday. Defensive back Matthias Farley and tight end Jordan Matthews have been let go, and they are now subject to waivers. Carolina also signed outside linebacker Eku Leota to the active roster since he had been designated a gameday elevation from the practice squad the maximum three times. The return of Horn and Thomas will leave the Panthers with four IR activations for the rest of the season.

Panthers Place OLB Justin Houston On IR

Carolina is down yet another defensive player this season after announcing the decision to place veteran pass rusher Justin Houston on injured reserve. The loss of another defensive starter just piles on to what is certainly already feeling like a bit of a lost season.

The Panthers got off to an extremely slow start this year, winning only their first game of the season last week. Rookie No. 1 overall pick Bryce Young has piloted a struggling offense that ranks 30th in the league in yardage gained. The offensive struggles also led to head coach Frank Reich ceding play calling duties to rookie offensive coordinator Thomas Brown. Combine all the offensive struggles with a litany of defensive injuries and you arrive where the Panthers are now.

The 34-year-old Houston was brought in to start opposite star pass rusher Brian Burns. So far this year, though, through seven starts, Houston has only managed half a sack, two tackles for loss, and three quarterback hits. He’s far removed from his days of leading the NFL in sacks with 22.0, but even last year in Baltimore, Houston led the team in sacks while flirting with double digits.

Houston joins defensive teammates defensive end Henry Anderson, outside linebackers Yetur Gross-Matos and Marquis Haynes, linebackers Shaq Thompson and Claudin Cherelus, cornerback Jaycee Horn, and safety Jeremy Chinn on IR. That’s not even including the offensive side of the ball, which is currently without left guard Brady Christensen and tight ends Ian Thomas and Giovanni Ricci.

So far, the Panthers have only activated one player (tight end Stephen Sullivan) from IR, so the team still has the ability to activate seven more players from the injured list. Out of the players listed above, Anderson, who was placed on IR before the season started, is the only one who is unable to be activated, but the severity and nature of Thompson and Christensen’s injuries likely suggest that neither will be able to return either.

With Houston out, second-year defender Amare Barno or rookie third-round pick D.J. Johnson will likely be asked to step up into a bigger role. To supplement the position a bit, the Panthers did elect to bring up practice squad outside linebacker Eku Leota as a standard gameday elevation tomorrow.

Additionally, in order to fill Houston’s vacancy on the roster, Carolina signed practice squad safety Matthias Farley to the 53-man roster. Farley, an eight-year veteran, was once a full-season starter in Indianapolis before bouncing around with the Jets, Titans, and Raiders in backup and special teams roles. He’s already started one game this year in which Chinn and Vonn Bell were unable to play, and Bell is listed as doubtful for tomorrow’s matchup against the Colts.

Minor NFL Transactions: 10/28/23

Here are the gameday elevations and other minor moves made around the league in advance of Week 8:

Arizona Cardinals

Atlanta Falcons

Baltimore Ravens

Carolina Panthers

Chicago Bears

Cleveland Browns

Dallas Cowboys

Denver Broncos

Houston Texans

Indianapolis Colts

Jacksonville Jaguars

Kansas City Chiefs

Los Angeles Chargers

Los Angeles Rams

Minnesota Vikings

New England Patriots

New York Giants

New York Jets

Philadelphia Eagles

San Francisco 49ers

Seattle Seahawks

Tennessee Titans

Washington Commanders

Wilkinson’s loss will be notable for the Cardinals, given his status as an entrenched starter at the left guard spot. The 28-year-old joined Arizona on a one-year deal worth the veteran’s minimum in free agency after stints in Denver, Chicago and Atlanta. Trystan Colon replaced him in the starting lineup in Week 7, and that will likely continue for the time being. Wilkinson will be out for at least four weeks as a result of the IR move.

Ridgeway has been out since Week 1, his Texans debut. The former 49er joined the Texans in a move which allowed him to continue working under head coach DeMeco Ryans. Ridgeway ended last season on IR, so he will be looking for an extended run of availability in his new home. A veteran of 78 games (and 19 starts), he will aim to carve out a rotational role up front.

Peters was brought in by the Seahawks while they were dealing with injury problems at both tackle spots. Blindside blocker Charles Cross has since returned, so Peters’ most familiar spot will not be available if he is to make his Seattle debut on Sunday. The fact the latter is healthy and in game shape does mean, however, that he will be eligible to play in a 19th NFL season.

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 BuccaneersFalconsPanthers and Saints moves are noted below.

Atlanta Falcons




  • OL Josh Miles

Signed to practice squad: 

Carolina Panthers



Signed to practice squad:

New Orleans Saints



Signed to practice squad:

Tampa Bay Buccaneers



Signed to practice squad:

Panthers Reduce Roster To 53

The Panthers cut down their roster to 53 players today, but in the process, they ruled out a key offensive lineman for at least a month:



Placed on PUP:

Placed on IR:

Austin Corbett continues to rehab from a torn ACL and has been sitting on PUP throughout the preseason. The transaction means the starting guard can’t be activated to the active roster until Week 5, but he may need longer to get into form. NFL Network’s Cameron Wolfe tweets that the team is hoping to have him back midway through the season. Rookie Chandler Zavala will likely slide into the starting lineup while Corbett is sidelined.

Eric Rowe has 100 games of experience in stints with the Eagles, Patriots, and Dolphins. He’s spent the past four seasons in Miami, starting 39 of his 63 appearances. This included a 2022 campaign where he got into 14 games (six starts), finishing with 56 tackles and a pair of sacks. The two-time Super Bowl champ joined the Panthers back in April.

Panthers Announce 13 UDFA Signings

The Panthers won’t officially sign their undrafted rookies until next week’s minicamp, but the organization still went ahead and announced their 13-man UDFA class:

The Panthers were busy adding linebackers, signing four players at the position. Bumper Pool is the most notable of the bunch, with the linebacker having a productive collegiate career at Arkansas (441 tackles, 27.5 tackles for loss, and three sacks). Pool likely would have heard his name called during the draft if not for a hip injury that derailed his final season. Meanwhile, Eku Leota could carve out a role on the edge for Chicago, with the Auburn product compiling 15.5 sacks during his college career.

Cam Peoples was a surprise UDFA after he collected 2,830 rushing yards and 33 touchdowns during his time at Appalachian State. At 6-foot-1 and 217 pounds, the rookie profiles as more of a power back, a role that he could easily fill with Carolina. Josh Vann is now the third South Carolina wideout on the Panthers’ roster, joining Damiere Byrd and Shi Smith.