Jaycee Horn

Panthers Place CB Jaycee Horn On IR

JANUARY 2: The Panthers have placed Horn on IR, per a team announcement. That comes as little surprise, considering Carolina has now been eliminated from postseason contention. Horn’s season is over, but his performance when available this year will lead to significant expectations in 2023.

DECEMBER 25: The Panthers came into this week knowing they needed to win every remaining game to make the playoffs and took a huge first step by beating the surging Lions handedly. With two games remaining, if they can go on the road twice and beat the division-leading Buccaneers and the Saints, they can punch their ticket to the postseason. Unfortunately, that job just got one degree harder as they will be going into those two games without starting cornerback Jaycee Horn.

Horn left Saturday’s win over the Lions late in the game with a broken wrist, according to Ian Rapoport of NFL Network. This late in the year, the injury is likely one that will end Horn’s sophomore season, his second straight season with an early exit.

Last year’s top-10 draft pick for the Panthers’ rookie season ended after he had only started three games. A fractured foot landed Horn on injured reserve and he would sit out the remainder of the season, forcing Carolina to push for acquisitions such as C.J. Henderson and Stephon Gilmore. Gilmore has since moved on to Indianapolis, but Henderson has been performing as Carolina’s de facto third corner, starting in Weeks 6 and 7 when Horn was dealing with a rib injury and in Week 9 when starting cornerback Donte Jackson missed a contest then taking over the starting job for Jackson when he was placed on IR.

Horn’s comeback season had been going really well. According to Pro Football Focus (subscription required), Horn graded out as the league’s 23rd-best cornerback and a top-ten cornerback in the NFC. While he could stand to improve on his tackling a bit in run defense, Horn has been outstanding in coverage this season recording three interceptions and seven passes defensed while not allowing a single touchdown.

Now, without Jackson and Horn out for the remainder of the season, the Panthers will likely have to start second-year cornerback Keith Taylor opposite Henderson. Taylor has factored heavily into the Panthers rotation of defensive backs several times this season, splitting time with Henderson during his earlier time as a substitute for Jackson and Horn. Carolina doesn’t have much else to work with, unfortunately. If they place Horn on IR, he’ll join Jackson and Stantley Thomas-Oliver III. Recently claimed special-teamer Justin Layne was designated as did not report, leaving veteran cornerback T.J. Carrie as the Panthers’ only healthy backup on the active roster.

The Panthers do have two cornerbacks on the practice squad: Madre Harper and Gavin Heslop. Both are second-year players with Harper coming out of Southern Illinois and Heslop hailing from Stony Brook.

Panthers Notes: NFLPA Grievance, Horn, Fitterer

Field conditions have been a talking point for many teams around the league this year, including the Panthers. The latest issue arising from the turf at Bank of America Stadium has resulted in action being taken by the player’s association.

The NFLPA is filing a grievance against the NFL and the Panthers for the state of the field during Carolina’s Christmas Eve game against the Lions, as detailed by ESPN’s David Newton. That contest – which had the coldest temperature for a start time in franchise history – began with the field in a poor, hard condition for the first half of the game in particular.

The union wanted to have the start of the game delayed due to the conditions, according to Newton’s colleague Adam Schefter, though a league official said they did not raise the issue prior to kickoff. By halftime, the field was in a better condition, but Lions quarterback Jared Goff described the field as “below NFL-standard” after the game was over. Veteran Panthers linebacker Shaq Thompson has been one of many Carolina players to voice concerns over the team’s artificial turf, which was installed in 2021.

Here are some other notes out of Charlotte:

  • Cornerback Jaycee Horn was thought to be done for the season in the wake of his wrist injury suffered in Week 16. He quickly underwent surgery, though, opening the door to a late-season return. Joe Person of The Athletic tweets that the 2021 first-rounder could be able to suit up for Carolina’s regular season finale against the Saints – something which would be a welcomed sight given the Panthers’ struggles in the secondary during their loss to the Buccaneers yesterday. On the other hand, that result knocked the Panthers out of postseason contention, so the team should have little incentive to rush him back into action.
  • The firing of head coach Matt Rhule led many to believe that further organizational changes could be coming, but owner David Tepper quickly voiced his support of GM Scott Fitterer. The latter has been in place for less than two full seasons, as the team’s recent rebuilding efforts have not panned out. Fitterer began distancing himself from Rhule in 2021, per Jason La Canfora of the Washington Post, the season in which the former Baylor HC’s seat began to become increasingly hot. Stability with the team’s next head coach – either interim bench boss Steve Wilks or an outside hire – would likely help Fitterer’s job stability for the intermediate future.
  • Wilks continued his reshaping of the team’s coaching staff to close out the season last month, adding Ian Scott as a defensive line coach (Twitter link via Newton). The 41-year-old spent six years in the NFL as a player, including a brief spell with the Panthers in 2008. He began his college coaching career at Florida, later working with d-linemen at UCF and Central Michigan. This post will be his first at the pro level.

Panthers Sign CB Josh Norman; Latest On CB Jaycee Horn

5:00pm: To little surprise, a deal has indeed been finalized. The Panthers announced that Norman is officially back in the fold, joining the team’s practice squad for now. An elevation to the 53-man roster in time for Week 17 is expected to take place.

2:42pm: With the Panthers dealing with a significant loss in their secondary, a familiar face could be back in the fold soon. Veteran Josh Norman is set to workout with the team today, and a deal bringing him back in the fold is a distinct possibility (Twitter links via Joe Person of The Athletic).

The news comes not long after interim head coach Steve Wilks announced that fellow cornerback Jaycee Horn will undergo wrist surgery on Tuesday. A determination will be made after that procedure regarding whether or not the 2021 first-rounder will be able to return at any time this season. It is not expected at this point that he will be able to suit up before 2023.

Horn’s presumed season-ending absence has opened up a spot at the position, and Norman would represent an experienced addition should his visit result in a deal. The 35-year-old began his career as a fifth-rounder of the Panthers in 2012. He enjoyed his best seasons there, including the 2015 campaign which saw him earn Pro Bowl and All-Pro honors after notching four interceptions. He played an instrumental role in the team’s run to the Super Bowl that year.

The Coastal Carolina alum departed for Washington the following offseason, and spent four years there. He tallied seven interceptions and 43 pass deflections during that tenure, demonstrating his continued ability to make plays on the ball into the latter stages of his career. His Washington stint was followed by one-year deals with the Bills and 49ers.

Norman has not played since he made 15 appearances (including 14 starts) with San Francisco last year. While expectations would certainly need to be tempered relative to the last time in played for Carolina, he could step in and play at least a rotational role for the final two weeks of the season – a stretch which carries far more significance at this point than many would have expected given the team’s start to the campaign.

The Panthers sit at 6-9 on the season, putting them just one game behind the Buccaneers for top spot in the NFC South. The two teams will face off against each other on Sunday in a pivotal matchup, one which could include the beginning of Norman’s reunion with his original NFL team.

Latest On Panthers, Brian Burns

After dealing Robbie Anderson and Christian McCaffrey, the Panthers seem unwilling to strip away pieces from their homegrown young core. Brian Burns‘ name has headlined this group, but teams have still discussed the fourth-year defensive end with the Panthers.

The Panthers look to have made it known they do not want to deal Burns, and Adam Schefter of ESPN.com noting the team turned down an offer of two first-round picks for the Pro Bowl pass rusher. Burns would make for a lower-profile addition to the exclusive club of defenders dealt for two first-round picks in recent years. Khalil Mack, Jalen Ramsey and Jamal Adams each had an All-Pro nod on their respective resumes by the time they were moved for packages fronted by two first-rounders. Burns is a one-time Pro Bowler.

That report also surprised various teams around the league. A high-ranking exec said the Panthers wanted first- and second-round picks for Burns during his team’s talks with Carolina, per Jason La Canfora of the Washington Post. Other evaluators surveyed here believe that if the Panthers were indeed offered two firsts for Burns they should take it, JLC adds. Burns, 24, is moving toward a second Pro Bowl season, but the former first-rounder has yet to cross the 10-sack barrier in a campaign.

Still, the Panthers should be considered unlikely to deal Burns, D.J. Moore or Jeremy Chinn. The Panthers have also told teams they are not trading Derrick Brown or Jaycee Horn, Schefter adds. Brown can be controlled through 2024 and Horn through 2025, via the fifth-year option. The Panthers have made Shaq Thompson available, but the Burns-Chinn-Moore-Brown core — which is naturally more appealing to teams due to the performers’ ages — is being protected. The Panthers continue to discuss Moore with teams, however, La Canfora adds. Thus far, the team is resisting this trade interest.

The Rams are viewed as a team likely to have made a strong offer for Burns, La Canfora adds, with The Athletic’s Jourdan Rodrigue indicating the team should be expected to pursue edge players before the deadline (Twitter link). Los Angeles has acquired Ramsey, Von Miller and Dante Fowler at recent trade deadlines, using Day 1 and Day 2 picks to land these defenders. The Fowler and Miller moves helped those respective Rams editions to Super Bowls. The Rams do not have their 2023 first-round pick. That would seem to impact any Burns pursuit, though the team could likely land other potentially available edges without a first-rounder being necessary.

Miller choosing the Bills in free agency set back the Rams’ pass rush, however. Leonard Floyd entered the season as the defending champions’ top edge rusher; the $16MM-per-year sack artist is sackless through six games. Although Ramsey and off-ball linebacker Bobby Wagner have two sacks apiece, Aaron Donald (four) is the only Rams rusher to have registered more than one sack this season.

Carolina has added three 2023 picks, two 2024 choices and a 2025 selection for dealing McCaffrey and Anderson. Moving Thompson, 28, would add to this growing draft arsenal. But Carolina’s collection of young talent — on display during the team’s 21-3 Week 7 win over the Buccaneers — figures to still come up in conversations ahead of the Nov. 1 deadline. Trading one of those players could move the needle further for GM Scott Fitterer, a Matt Rhule-era hire who should not be considered — based on how David Tepper proceeded with former GM Marty Hurney during Rhule’s time — a lock to be the one making these draft picks. That said, Tepper backed Fitterer in the wake of Rhule’s firing.

Inactives Today: Dotson, Swift, Bakhtiari, Horn

Washington was hoping to get its rookie first-round pick back today after missing the past two weeks with a hamstring injury, but, after seemingly reaggravating the hamstring in practice Thursday, Dotson will miss his third game in a row, according to Stacey Dales of NFL Network. In his absence, Washington will rely on Curtis Samuel and Dyami Brown to work opposite Terry McLaurin on offense.

The Commanders have been a mixed bag without Dotson in the lineup. In the team’s loss to the Titans two weeks ago, Brown and Samuel combined to catch eight balls for 167 yards and two touchdowns. Brown’s production came on two long touchdown catches, while Samuel was peppered with eight targets working a shorter range. The two did enough to compliment McLaurin and open him up to snag five passes for 76 yards.

There wasn’t much offense to be found the next week during the Commanders’ win in Chicago, as quarterback Carson Wentz only accumulated 99 passing yards. McLaurin showed up, as usual, catching three balls for 41 yards, while Samuel only caught two of his five targets for 6 yards and Brown was only targeted once. The team has also utilized Cam Sims and Dax Milne, but Samuel and Brown seem to be the most capable candidates to replace Dotson’s production.

Here are a few other notes on players listed an inactive today:

  • Continuing a trend from his first two seasons, injuries seem to be weighing down Lions running back D’Andre Swift this year as he is also set to miss his third straight game, according to ESPN’s Adam Schefter. The Lions have the very capable legs of backup Jamaal Williams who, despite the offense’s struggles during a Week 5 trip to New England, has performed admirably in the lead role during Swift’s absence. Craig Reynolds has taken up the backup duties with Justin Jackson contributing, as well. All three will likely be needed for a tough trip to Dallas.
  • The Packers continue to get intermittent play out of star tackle David Bakhtiari due to the lingering effects of his recovery from last year’s ACL tear. After playing sparingly in two of the last four games, Bakhtiari will be out today against the Commanders, according to Field Yates of ESPN. Zach Tom is likely to sub in to protect quarterback Aaron Rodgers blindside, while Yosh Nijman slots in at right tackle.
  • The Panthers will be without second-year cornerback Jaycee Horn for the second week in a row. Last week, the team called on C.J. Henderson to start opposite Donte Jackson but split much of the playing time with second-year backup Keith Taylor. They’ll likely depend on a similar gameplan today against the Buccaneers.

Panthers GM: Would Need ‘Astronomical’ Return To Trade Certain Players

Although the Panthers have stopped short of full fire-sale mode, the trade of Christian McCaffrey does send off signals big names can be obtained. But Scott Fitterer attempted to cool off any rumors of that sort in the wake of the All-Pro running back’s departure.

McCaffrey drew interest and fetched a four-pick trade package — far shy of the Cowboys’ franchise-changing Herschel Walker haul but more than the Colts collected for Marshall Faulk — but Panthers that play higher-value positions have steadily generated interest since Matt Rhule‘s firing. Fitterer stopped short of taking those players off the market but indicated they probably cannot be had.

There’s players on this team that I really don’t want to trade, I know this organization does not want to trade,” Fitterer said Friday. “It would have to take something astronomical. But I think moving forward, we like where we’re at. We like our young players.”

It is fairly safe to assume D.J. Moore and Brian Burns qualify for the “astronomical” classifier. The Panthers view Moore as a foundational piece, according to Jeremy Fowler of ESPN.com (on Twitter). Burns could be in play, but Albert Breer of SI.com tweets it would take something like two first-round picks to pull off such a deal.

This year further educated the football-following public on wide receiver availability. Davante Adams, Tyreek Hill, A.J. Brown and Marquise Brown went for packages headlined by first-round picks. Given the buzz attached to Moore since Rhule’s firing, the Panthers likely would hold out for a compensation haul featuring a first-rounder and then some. Moore, 25, has back-to-back-to-back 1,100-yard seasons on his resume, reaching this benchmark consistently despite Carolina’s quarterback inconsistency. The Panthers gave him a three-year, $61.9MM extension in March.

Burns’ profile (one Pro Bowl) would not put him in the club of recent non-quarterbacks who commanded two first-round picks. Khalil Mack, Jalen Ramsey and Jamal Adams each had an All-Pro notch on their respective belts when they were traded for two first-rounders. Laremy Tunsil was moved without this accolade, however. Still, it is difficult to see a team betting that much on Burns at this point. He has not hit double-digit sacks in a season yet. The Panthers have been ready to re-up Burns for a bit now, though the team held off on doing an extension this year. Burns, 24, can drive up his extension price by continuing on his current pace.

Drafted during Rhule’s run, Derrick Brown is believed to be included in Carolina’s no-trade class. Shaq Thompson, the team’s longest-tenured player, is not. It will be interesting to see, especially now that McCaffrey is gone, if Thompson is moved before the Nov. 1 deadline. Players like cornerback Donte Jackson and offensive lineman Cameron Erving could be candidates as well, Joe Person of The Athletic offers (subscription required). Jeremy Chinn and Jaycee Horn can also be included among the core players Carolina does not want to trade, Person adds.

More players being sent away would naturally increase the chances the Panthers score a top-five draft choice. Carolina has not held such draft real estate since 2011, when it chose Cam Newton first overall. Hired during Rhule’s second offseason, Fitterer expects to be around when the team finds Rhule’s successor, Cameron Wolfe of NFL.com tweets. David Tepper endorsed Fitterer this week and said he wants more balance regarding HC-GM decision-making, after Rhule held roster control during his tenure. Though, it probably cannot be considered a lock the second-year GM is back. Tepper fired GM Marty Hurney months after greenlighting a Rhule-Hurney arranged partnership. But Fitterer is running the show regarding Panthers trades. The longtime Seahawks exec has doubled the Panthers’ 2023 draft arsenal over the first four rounds, running it to six via the McCaffrey swap.

Latest On Panthers CB Jaycee Horn

Panthers cornerback Jaycee Horn missed the final 14 games of his rookie campaign after breaking three bones in his right foot. More than 10 months later, the former first-round pick is still sidelined. As Joseph Person of The Athletic writes, the Panthers continue to bring the cornerback along slowly as he recovers from the foot injury.

“I don’t want to get into all [the training staff is] doing,” said head coach Matt Rhule. “But they’ve taken some things and said, ‘Hey, give him a couple days.’ I think we all feel really good about where it’s headed.”

Horn made an appearance at OTAs and minicamp but reported soreness after his conditioning test, according to Person. He subsequently landed on PUP, and despite being activated since, he’s yet to participate in team drills. Horn isn’t expected on the practice field for at least a few more days, but there’s some optimism that he could return by next week.

“When you come back off a broken foot, you’re gonna deal with some soreness. … If you talk to anyone with a broken foot, they’re gonna tell you that’s what they generally deal with,” Horn told Person. “So I wasn’t too concerned. I was just taking the advice of the training staff and taking it slow.”

Following a standout collegiate career at South Carolina, the Panthers selected Horn with the eighth-overall pick in the 2021 draft. He started each of his three games last season, collecting five tackles and one interception. He’s expected to slide back into the starting lineup once he’s fully healthy.

Panthers Activate CB Jaycee Horn Off PUP

Carolina got some good news today in training camp with second-year cornerback Jaycee Horn being activated from the physically unable to perform list. The team made the announcement on their website this morning, stating that the 22-year-old was cleared to practice. 

Horn missed nearly all of his rookie season last year after suffering a fractured foot in Week 3 of the season. The Panthers had to scramble using mid-season trades to acquire C.J. Henderson and Stephon Gilmore to play opposite starter Donte Jackson. With Jackson re-signed and Gilmore gone to free agency, Horn should retake his spot atop the depth chart with Jackson, with Henderson coming first off the bench. There were also indications that, if Henderson can prove his development, Jackson and Henderson could be trusted outside with Horn playing inside more at nickel.

Horn had indicated that his surgically repaired foot was sore after the Panthers’ conditioning test. As a precaution, Horn was placed on PUP to start training camp, but he should return now, concluding a seamless recovery over the past 10 months.

Defensive coordinator Phil Snow, while probably unhappy to see Horn on the PUP list in the first place, will be extremely relieved to have Horn back. Horn will be a welcome addition to a defense that ranked fourth last year in passing yards allowed.

Panthers Place Shaq Thompson, Jaycee Horn On PUP List

Two Panthers starting defenders will begin their training camps belatedly. The team placed Shaq Thompson and Jaycee Horn on its active/PUP list.

Thompson landed on the Panthers’ PUP because of an offseason knee surgery, David Newton of ESPN.com tweets. While Matt Rhule described this as a cleanup-type procedure, Thompson will still miss a chunk of time leading up to the season. Horn beginning on Carolina’s PUP may be more notable, due to the extensive time he has spent rehabbing a foot malady.

Horn indicated his surgically repaired foot was sore after the team’s conditioning test. This comes two months after the 2021 first-round pick was declared “full go” after a rehab effort over the winter and through the spring. Horn should be expected to return soon, but it obviously makes sense for the Panthers to exercise caution here. The South Carolina alum broke his foot in Week 3 of last season and missed 14 games.

Players who land on the active/PUP list can return to practice at any point during camp, but if they remain on the list beyond August 23, a minimum four-week absence must ensue beginning in Week 1. Both Panthers are expected to be back at practice before that deadline, though Horn’s return to work will generate interest considering his time away.

The Panthers re-signed Donte Jackson to team with Horn long-term, and the team’s early-season trade for C.J. Henderson may pay greater dividends this season than it did in 2021. This mix of young talent will take over after the team let Stephon Gilmore walk in free agency.

NFC South Rumors: Mayfield, Henderson, Jones, Buccaneers

After months of anticipation and speculation, the Panthers finally made the move to acquire Browns quarterback Baker Mayfield via trade. In the 27-year-old’s first press conference for Carolina, the new passer announced that he has “tweaked his throwing mechanics,” according to Anthony Rizzuti of USA Today.

The change in throwing motion is a direct result of the time Mayfield had to miss last year due to a torn labrum in his left shoulder.

“When it comes to my shoulder…my throwing motion was extremely violent,” Mayfield explained. “I’ve made some small changes and worked with a great QB coach, Jeff Christensen. He’s helped me get back to a form that…I haven’t thrown the ball this well in a long time. And throwing motion looks a little different and I’m thankful for that.”

Here’s a few other rumors from the NFC South, starting with another note out of the Tar Heel state:

  • The Panthers’ cornerback situation was a bit chaotic last year. After drafting Jaycee Horn in the first round of last year’s draft, and subsequently losing him to a right foot injury, Carolina was forced to acquire both C.J. Henderson and Stephon Gilmore via trades. Henderson spent most of his first season with the Panthers adjusting to his second NFL defensive system in as many years in the league. This offseason, though, he’s reportedly begun to show the talent that got him drafted in the first round in 2020, according to ESPN’s David Newton. If Henderson can develop into a consistent starting talent, this would allow defensive coordinator Phil Snow and secondary coach Steve Wilks to have Horn move inside to play more nickel in passing situations, trusting Henderson and starting cornerback Donte Jackson on the outside.
  • Falcons’ defensive mainstay over the past few years, linebacker Deion Jones, will have a bit more than an injury recovery to battle with this offseason, according to D. Orlando Ledbetter of The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Atlanta experienced an influx of inside linebacker talent this offseason, bringing in veterans Rashaan Evans and Nick Kwiatkoski in free agency and drafting rookie Troy Andersen in the second round of the 2022 NFL Draft. Jones will be coming off shoulder surgery and head coach Arthur Smith told Ledbetter that “everybody is going to have to earn a spot” at the position.
  • The Buccaneers will have a lot to figure out in their secondary this offseason, according to Greg Auman of The Athletic. The team was able to return starting cornerback Carlton Davis on a three-year deal back in March but has two options battling to start opposite him. Both being in contract years, Jamel Dean and Sean Murphy-Bunting will both be working to try and earn a similar new deal to Davis’. Tampa Bay will operate primarily in a nickel-look defense, meaning all three can be on the field, but when they revert to a base formation either Dean or Murphy-Bunting will have to earn that time. Not to mention, in the off case that one or both struggle at any point, veteran safety Logan Ryan is ready and waiting with his years of cornerback experience in his back pocket.