The Panthers have been clearing salary cap space this week, but they won’t need any of it for left tackle Jordan Gross.
Joseph Person of the Charlotte Observer reports that Gross has decided to retire rather than return for a 12th NFL season. An official announcement is expected to come on Wednesday.
Gross was set to become a free agent next month, but said at the end of last season that he would either play for the Panthers or no one. Gross, the eighth pick of the 2003 draft, was a three-time Pro Bowl selection and made the AP All-Pro team after the 2008 season.
His retirement leaves a big hole for the Panthers to fill on the offensive line as Gross was still playing at a high level in 2013 without much reason to expect a slip in his game in 2014. Some of the cap space created by restructuring the deals of Thomas Davis, Jonathan Stewart and Ryan Kalil could be earmarked for finding a replacement, although the Panthers have 20 other pending free agents and some other work to do on the offensive line this offseason.