After getting cut by the Patriots this past weekend, Will Grier is back with the organization. Considering the uncertainty surrounding New England’s QB situation, there was some speculation that Grier could get a look before the end of the season, and his addition to the taxi squad leaves that door open. The former Cowboys backup started two games for the Panthers back in 2019, going winless while tossing zero touchdowns vs. four interceptions.
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 Hornand tight end Ian Thomashave 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 Farleyand tight end Jordan Matthewshave been let go, and they are now subject to waivers. Carolina also signed outside linebacker Eku Leotato 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.
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 Reichceding 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.
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.
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 Crosshas 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.
The Panthers are trading one tight end from injured reserve for another with today’s transactions. Carolina has opted to send tight end Ian Thomas to IR as he recovers from a calf injury, according to Panthers staff writer Darin Gantt. Reinforcements will arrive swiftly, though, as tight end Stephen Sullivan has been activated off of IR in Thomas’ place.
Sullivan will be making his 2023 season-debut his weekend after being placed on IR to start the year. Through three years in the NFL, Sullivan has only reeled in two catches for 46 yards, but he’ll provide some important depth this Sunday.
In addition to the above two moves, the Panthers will be calling up safety Matthias Farley and offensive lineman Justin McCray from the practice squad as standard gameday elevations. With Bell out as a starter, Farley is not only expected to play, but he is also expected to make his first start since 2020. McCray may not get significant playing time, but he will provide some serious depth off the bench as the team prepares to deal with the neck injury of Chandler Zavala, another inactive starter.
Walker’s elevation comes amidst a degree of uncertainty regarding DeshaunWatson‘s Sunday availability. The latter is dealing with a shoulder injury, but he has expressed confidence he will be able to suit up. In the event he is unable to play, though, Walker will provide insurance under center. NFL Network’s James Palmer reports Watson will be a game-time decision.
Chosen, formerly Robbie Anderson, made his Dolphins debut in Week 3, scoring a 68-yard touchdown on his only catch. His performance – along with other depth wideouts currently being sidelined for Miami – will give the 30-year-old a longer look with his new team.
Gore’s elevation will give him the chance to see regular season game action for the first time since 2021. The former UDFA recorded 361 scrimmage yards with the Chiefs that season, but a subsequent IR stint marked the end of his time in Kansas City. Gore has since spent time on the Saints’, and now Commanders’, taxi squads. Nicki Jhabvala of the Washington Post notes that fellow depth back Chris Rodriguezhas bee ruled out with an illness, opening the door to Gore seeing limited snaps.
Eric Rowe didn’t last all that long in Carolina after landing on the team’s practice squad in late August. The veteran defensive back spent the past four seasons in Miami, starting 39 of his 63 appearances. He’ll be replaced by Matthias Farley, who brings 100 games of experience to the Panthers. The safety has bounced around the league recently but didn’t miss a game between 2020 and 2022.
It took Mykal Walker a few weeks to find a new gig after getting cut by the Bears on roster deadline day. The former fourth-round pick spent the first three seasons of his career with the Falcons, including a 2022 campaign where he finished with 107 tackles. He was surprisingly waived by Atlanta in mid-August before getting scooped up by Chicago. Now, he’ll have a chance to revive his career in Las Vegas.
The Cardinals’ moves come as a reaction to yesterday’s injury news. Baccellia’s roster spot was opened up in the short-term by the injury to Rondale Moore, but he won’t simply be a stop-gap. Arizona signed the 25-year-old to a two-year deal to remain on the main roster, per Aaron Wilson of Pro Football Network (Twitter link). A UDFA out of Washington, Baccellia has yet to make a regular season NFL appearance.
Likewise, the fact that Ford will miss at least the first four weeks of the season makes the re-acquisition of Garcia a logical one. The former fourth-rounder has plenty of guard experience, including his three seasons spent in Arizona. It was only in 2021 that he logged any starts, but he could provide veteran depth behind Justin Pughat least until Ford is able to return.
Addison, 35, was one of several veteran signings the Texans made this offseason to add depth to their front seven. He had a productive season with the Bills last season, notching seven sacks despite not starting any games. In his absence, Harris and Pierre-Louis will provide depth in the edge rush departmenton Sunday, and likely the short-term future as well.
Quick reminder that standard game day practice squad promotions are a recent development from the new CBA and COVID-19 seasons. Essentially, each team is able to promote two players from the practice squad to the active roster for game days. The players will automatically revert back to the practice squad after the game, not needing to clear waivers before rejoining the developmental roster. A player can only be promoted three times per season. If a team would like to promote a player for a fourth game, they’ll need to go through the normal method of creating space on the 53-man roster to promote them and have them clear waivers before placing them back on the practice squad. That is the difference between “Signed to 53-man roster” from the practice squad and “Promoted from practice squad.”