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.