The Panthers will shift to a primarily 3-4 front on defense in 2019, ESPN's David Newton reports. The change follows Carolina's lowest sack total since HC Ron Rivera's 1st season in 2012. It also returns Rivera's scheme to the version he ran with the 2010 Chargers. The change means Kawann Short will move primarily from 4-3 DT to 3-4 DE. It also means that edge players Mario Addison, Bruce Irvin, Brian Burns and Marquis Haynes could find themselves classified as OLBs rather than DEs. The position designations for 2019 might depend on which commissioner site your league uses. Keep an eye out for potential changes as we get into IDP draft season.
Panthers QB Cam Newton has resumed throwing, according to The Charlotte Observer's Jourdan Rodrigue. Newton has been cautious in his return from January 24th shoulder surgery, but all signs point to him being ready to go well before the start of the 2019 campaign. A healthy Newton is a good bet to return value at his current 9th-round ADP.
Panthers TE Greg Olsen has been fully cleared from his right foot trouble, he told reporters Wednesday. Olsen broke that foot in each of the past 2 seasons and ruptured the plantar fascia late last year. We'll see how the 34-year-old holds up the rest of this offseason. A healthy Olsen still has TE1 potential, but he should only be drafted as a bench stash at this point.
The Panthers added a pair of RBs over the weekend, selecting Jordan Scarlett in the 5th round of the NFL Draft and then signing Elijah Holyfield as a free agent. Scarlett averaged 5.4 yards per carry career at Florida, while tallying a fairly light 344 carries and just 15 receptions. Holyfield delivered 1,018 yards on 6.4 per carry in his final season at Georgia, but it wasn't surprising to see him go undrafted after a terrible Scouting Combine (including a 4.78-second 40 and 4th-percentile vertical). Carolina could use some backfield depth behind Christian McCaffrey. The rest of the team's RBs handled just 63 carries last year, with no one drawing more than 24. Scarlett and Holyfield should get in on the competition to back up McCaffrey, and perhaps the rookies can finally push veteran Cameron Artis-Payne off the roster. Artis-Payne has totaled just 118 rushing attempts through 4 pro seasons.
The Panthers nabbed West Virginia QB Will Grier with the 100th pick of the 2019 NFL Draft. Grier was a 2-year starter for West Virginia after transferring from Florida. He completed 65.7% of his passes and averaged 9.4 yards per attempt in his 2 seasons in Morgantown. Grier earned Pro Football Focus’ 2nd-best passing grade in 2018 (behind Kyler Murray) and ranked 6th in this draft class in adjusted completion rate. He wasn’t a rushing threat at West Virginia but did post a 58th percentile SPARQ score at the Combine. Grier should be considered the favorite to win the backup job behind Cam Newton in 2019 and has some long-term starter potential.
The Panthers spent their 1st-round pick on DE Brian Burns in the NFL Draft. Burns tallied 9.5, 13.5 and 15.5 tackles for loss in 3 seasons at Florida State, including 8.5, 4.5 and 10 sacks. Burns might need to add weight beyond the 249 he logged at the Combine before he's ready for regular NFL duty. But he should at least be a rotational factor soon in a Carolina D desperately in need of new edge talent. The DE designation will help his IDP outlook.
The Panthers have signed WR Chris Hogan to a 1-year contract. He follows fleeting AAF star Rashad Ross onto a roster that shed WR Devin Funchess this offseason but retains Torrey Smith as an outside speed WR. Carolina also returns D.J. Moore, Curtis Samuel and Jarius Wright -- 3 of last year's top 5 targets. Hogan endured a wildly disappointing 2018 and then got shunned by a New England team short on pass-catchers. Don't bet on Hogan rebounding for fantasy football value.
DE Bruce Irvin has agreed to a 1-year deal with the Panthers. That sets the former Falcon up well for 2019 playing time. Carolina had just 2 DEs reach 50% snap share last season, and Juilus Peppers has retired since finishing 2nd in that category. Mario Addison continues to lead the group, heading into his age-32 season. Wes Horton played 47% as the #3 DE last year and is now an unrestricted free agent. Wild cards in the mix are Efe Obada (soon to be 27) and 2018 rookie Marquis Haynes. Obada's a fun prospect from Nigeria who flashed in limited time last year. But Haynes arrived as a 4th-round pick last year after tallying 47.5 tackles for loss and 32 sacks across 4 seasons at Mississippi State. Irvin might open 2019 as a starter but is smallish and might also fare better with limited snaps. It'll be a position to watch in Carolina.
A video on the new YouTube channel of Panthers QB Cam Newton brought encouraging details on his January shoulder surgery. Newton had arthroscopic "irrigation" and "debridement" on his right (throwing) shoulder, and the cartilage damage was apparently fairly minor. “That cartilage damage was not as extensive as we had feared. It was definitely there. We knew that,” team doctor Pat Connor said. “It was pretty small. So if we get that (range of) motion back and keep it, I think we’ll be pretty good.” The Athletic's Joseph Person also talked with longtime Chargers team doctor David Chao, who said the same thing about restoring range of motion. That will be a key thing to watch for in reports through the spring and summer. Don't overrate the shoulder issue and sell off Newton cheaply in dynasty this offseason. As for his redraft -- and general 2019 -- outlook, we'll see how the rehab goes.
Panthers HC Ron Rivera said Thursday that QB Cam Newton is already showing "marked improvement" from his January 24th shoulder surgery. Rivera said the procedure was as "minimally invasive as possible" and was designed to clean out scar tissue that was affecting Newton's range of motion. "I was there on one of his recovery days when (Newton) was working out with (head athletic trainer) Ryan Vermillion," Rivera added. "And one of the things he did say was that he has gotten a lot of range of motion back. So that was exciting to hear." The Panthers expect Newton to be a full-go by the time training camp rolls around.
Panthers QB Cam Newton underwent surgery on his right shoulder on Thursday. It's his 2nd procedure on the throwing shoulder, following a March 2017 operation to repair a partially torn rotator cuff. The latest was an arthroscopic surgery that insider Jourdan Rodrigue hears was a cleanup. Newton's rehab is expected to run into spring, but the team is "hopeful" he'll be a full-go for training camp, according to Rodrigue. We'll keep an eye on him this offseason.
Panthers owner David Tepper admitted Tuesday that he has "no idea" if QB Cam Newton will need surgery on his throwing shoulder. “We all want the same thing: To do everything possible to make it better by next year,” Tepper added. “And hopefully he gets better." ESPN's Adam Schefter caused a stir when he suggested Newton could sit out the 2019 season, but the Charlotte media didn't come away from Tepper's press conference with that feeling. Still, another surgery -- Newton had a a procedure on this throwing shoulder prior to the 2017 campaign -- would muddy his status going forward.
The Panthers have ruled DT Kawann Short (calf) out for Sunday's finale at New Orleans.
The Panthers have placed QB Taylor Heinicke on IR with the left elbow injury he suffered in last week's loss to the Falcons. With QB Cam Newton (shoulder) on the shelf, QB Kyle Allen will start Sunday's finale against the Saints. The undrafted rookie went 4-for-4 in relief of Heinicke last week but isn't a Week 17 fantasy option.
Panthers HC Ron Rivera suggested that he'll consider limiting RB Christian McCaffrey's workload in this weekend's finale, saying "we need to be smart." There was no sign of that in Week 16, with CMC playing 90% of the snaps, carrying 21 times and seeing 13 targets. We'll keep an eye on the situation the rest of the week.
Panthers DT Kawann Short is inactive for today's game against the Falcons because of a calf injury. That takes Carolina's best D-lineman out of the lineup, improving the matchup for Falcons RB Tevin Coleman. The 1st meeting found Coleman delivering 1 of his two 100-yard rushing lines so far this year.
The Panthers have placed K Graham Gano (knee) on IR. Chandler Catanzaro will handle kicking duties the rest of the way but isn't a fantasy option with Taylor Heinicke under center.
The Panthers are shutting down QB Cam Newton for the rest of the season, according to NFL Network's Ian Rapoport. It's a smart move by Carolina. Newton's shoulder has obviously become a bigger problem over the past few weeks, and the Panthers are all but eliminated from the playoff picture. We'll see if Newton needs another surgery on that shoulder or if some rest will get him back to 100%. His absence will leave Taylor Heinicke as Carolina's starter for the last 2 weeks. Undrafted out of Old Dominion back in 2015, Heinicke has attempted just 5 regular-season NFL passes. He's not a Week 16 fantasy option and is a downgrade for all of Carolina's skill-position guys. RB Christian McCaffrey is the only reliable fantasy play on the team.
Panthers QB Cam Newton admitted after Monday night's loss to the Saints that his throwing shouldn't is "not getting better." He struggled mightily vs. New Orleans, completing just 16 of 29 passes for 131 yards, 0 TDs and 1 INT. None of his attempts traveled more than 20 yards downfield, according to NFL Next Gen Stats. “I wish I could say what the injury is, but I don’t really know what it is, either,” Newton said. “No matter how much you push. No matter how much you ice, anti-inflammatories you take. Trust me, I did it — acupuncture, massages. It’s not been a time when a night went by without me getting some type of work done on my arm. I just don’t have the strength.” It's possible the Panthers shut Newton down with their season all but over. Even if he plays against the Falcons this weekend, he'll be tough to trust in fantasy lineups.
Panthers DT Kawann Short is surprisingly active for tonight’s game against the Saints. Short entered the day doubtful, which should mean that IDP owners already went with someone else. If you were holding out, though, he’s available
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