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Panthers cut veteran defensive end Charles Johnson

Charles Johnson AP

The Panthers hedged last week when asked about veteran defensive end Charles Johnson taking a pay cut, and now we know why.

The team announced they had cut the franchise’s second all-time leading sacker.

The Carolina Panthers have released defensive end Charles Johnson, the team announced Thursday.

“Charles was an impact player for the Carolina Panthers for a long time, both on and off the field,” General Manager Dave Gettleman said in a statement released by the team. “His statistics speak for themselves, and as a team captain he led the way you want your leaders to lead — by example. I wish him the best moving forward.”

Johnson was scheduled to make $10.75 million this year, and that was more than you can afford to pay a guy who played nine games and had 1.0 sack last year. But he had 41.0 sacks the four years prior, and was dependable as a run defender as well.

He also came back from a hamstring injury to play well in the postseason, with 3.0 sacks in three games.

The 29-year-old leaves a significant hole in the Panthers’ front four, even with the emergence of former second-rounder Kony Ealy. It’s a spot they’re going to have to address in free agency or high in the draft. 

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23 Responses to “Panthers cut veteran defensive end Charles Johnson”
  1. 89bottomline says: Mar 3, 2016 9:39 AM

    Great player, during the 2-14 season he was a key leader by playing hard despite losses, and pushing the team forward. Big salary and age and health sent him packing, but a great Panther none
    the less!

  2. jonathankrobinson424 says: Mar 3, 2016 9:43 AM

    …yeah, I don’t expect to see the Panthers in the playoffs next year. Between Jarred Allen and Johnson not coming back, it will impact the D big time

  3. grizzly224 says: Mar 3, 2016 9:46 AM

    This pretty much just leave JStew as the last of the Hurney era bad contracts.
    CJ was a great player for the Panthers but you can’t pay a guy that kind of money for average performance. I was hoping he would stick around at a reduce rate but I can’t blame him for not taking a pay cut. Now he gets to check out the FA market and have his pay set by the highest bidder.

  4. kitmandew says: Mar 3, 2016 9:53 AM

    Now even with the franchise tag on Norman the Panthers are @25 million under the cap… I expect a few more cuts to get the Panthers more than 30 million under…. Gettleman will fill these holes with the right players… In Gettleman we Trust!

  5. boobsanders says: Mar 3, 2016 9:58 AM

    Sounds like Coples had a good visit. Guess they’re gonna sign him now?

  6. mwcarolina says: Mar 3, 2016 10:00 AM

    This move could pave the way for Mario Williams, Chris Long or JPP coming to Carolina.

  7. nhpats says: Mar 3, 2016 10:08 AM

    I read that he called out Cam for being afraid to jump on his own fumble. What a shameful display of cowardice that was on the national stage

  8. irkjames says: Mar 3, 2016 10:19 AM

    One of my favorite players. It blows my mind that he’s never made a Pro Bowl averaging 7 sacks per season throughout his entire career.

    He’ll bounce back and find a happy home as well as a grateful team in no time.

    – From a Dolphins fan.

  9. 757ravensfan says: Mar 3, 2016 10:22 AM

    …yeah, I don’t expect to see the Panthers in the playoffs next year. Between Jarred Allen and Johnson not coming back, it will impact the D big time


    Ummmm did you forget that they’re in the dumpster fire which is the NFC South?

  10. toybkshr says: Mar 3, 2016 10:26 AM

    He’ll have several opportunities, just not at $10mil.

  11. karl422 says: Mar 3, 2016 10:45 AM

    I have to think there will be more then a few teams interested in a player of his skill set. Salary for one year 3 to 4 million.

  12. ppc50 says: Mar 3, 2016 10:48 AM

    Maybe Dallas instead of Hardy

  13. greenwhodat26 says: Mar 3, 2016 10:49 AM

    757ravensfan – the AFC North has two teams in the top six picks of the draft, including your lousy Ravens. The NFC South has one team picking in the top 10, which is the Bucs at #9. You tell me where the dumpster fire lies?

  14. gojags436 says: Mar 3, 2016 11:00 AM

    He’s 29 years old? Coming back from injury, he played well in the postseason. And very productive in the seasons prior to the injury? Hmmm….wouldn’t at all if the Jaguars offered him a contract. Make him part of a rotation of ends to keep them all fresh.

  15. charger383 says: Mar 3, 2016 11:02 AM

    what did he do get in wrong whirlpool?

  16. phluffyclouds says: Mar 3, 2016 11:10 AM

    Lol @ jonathankrobinson424

    Why bc the Panthers saved money and cut ties with players who are both shells of their former selves?

    I bet you said the same thing when Greg Hardy was sent packing last off-season…..

  17. qdog112 says: Mar 3, 2016 11:10 AM

    Thanks CJ for the great play. Good luck. I’m sure he’ll have no problem with a save landing.

    That said, the Panthers will have no problem maintaining that tenacious front and save money doing it, through FA and or the draft.

    Ealy, Horton (if he can stay straight), Coples may be a player and 2 former AREA all pros, in Peppers and Mario Williams can be guns for hire.

    I like our chances.

  18. phluffyclouds says: Mar 3, 2016 11:10 AM

    @ 757ravensfan

    Lol AFC NORTH… Please

  19. pantherfan4055 says: Mar 3, 2016 11:14 AM

    Great player for us in the past but he fell off the last 2 seasons. he was getting paid as one of the best and wasn’t playing like one of the best. panthers wanted him to take a paycut and he didn’t , so we cut him.

    To those that think we will take a step back because we lost charles johson and jared allen you couldn’t be more ignorant . our dline is built by our tackles kk short and star allen and charles johnson was holding us back and was holding back playing time from kony ealy and mario addison.

  20. laxcoach37 says: Mar 3, 2016 11:37 AM

    I’m pretty sure that some Cap happy team will sign away Dolphins Olivier Vernon from his Tag offer of $12.8M and guys like Johnson can be signed for far less with just as much productivity. At least that is what I tell myself.

    As for you Panthers Fans putting your faith in Couples… you are nuts! He has been with 2 teams and gets cut each time. I doubt he is Starter material, but maybe good for rotation of OLB passing downs.

  21. skinsdiehard says: Mar 3, 2016 11:43 AM

    With a deep Dline draft, it makes sense. They can get a quality player at #31 with less cap money. That’s what it’s all about in the NFL. Teams must manage their caps. Sign rookies and let most of them leave after the rookie contracts expire and keep it churning like college teams every 3 or 4 years. Compensatory picks then start to roll in each year as well. Good teams let most of their free agents leave and take the comp picks (Patriots, Ravens, Steelers, Packers) and start again.

  22. firstvictory says: Mar 3, 2016 12:12 PM


    you don’t watch football do you? if you had, you’d have realized those names were the Panthers’ greatest liabilities on D. start with a few preseason games this year. who knows where it goes. you may even figure out what a first down is by week 1.

  23. jgedgar70 says: Mar 3, 2016 12:52 PM

    “The 29-year-old leaves a significant hole in the Panthers’ front four, even with the emergence of former second-rounder Kony Ealy. It’s a spot they’re going to have to address in free agency or high in the draft.”

    I don’t know about all that. We did go 7-0 without him last year.

    This wasn’t a surprise. I think the way it played out is that they asked him to sign an extension that would reduce his cap number to $7-8 million, Rosenhaus said no, and next Wednesday he will sign with Atlanta for $7 million. The Falcons have always been his favorite team, even while he was playing for us, so that is where I expect him to go.

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