Shark Bites

Panthers QB Cam Newton's arm strength now is "like night and day" compared to last year, former Panther and current Bill Captain Munnerlyn said. Munnerlyn spent the past couple of days practicing against Newton. “His arm looks a whole lot better now. Man, to see him come back from that injury, I know it’s been tough on him," Munnerlyn said. “To see him come back like he’s doing, I expect big things from him." All reports on Newton's recovery from shoulder surgery continue to be positive. He's a nice value at his current 9th-round, QB10 ADP.

ESPN's Adam Schefter reports that the Panthers have agreed with S Tre Boston to a 1-year deal worth $3 million. Boston took a while to find a new home after solid play in Arizona last year. But he lands in a Carolina defense that's replacing S Mike Adams in the starting lineup. The early front-runner has been Rashaan Gaulden, a 3rd-round pick last year who played CB in college and spent just 143 snaps on the field as a rookie. Boston likely arrives as at least insurance and a potential rotational player. The Panthers have reportedly worked Gaulden at nickel corner some, in addition to safety. This will be a situation to watch for IDP upside -- especially after Carolina let longtime LB Thomas Davis walk in free agency.

Panthers HC Ron Rivera said WR Curtis Samuel's jump from year 2 to 3 "has been amazing." Samuel struggled with injuries for the first year-and-a-half of his NFL career. But over the final 6 weeks of last season, he tallied 22 catches, 315 yards and 2 scores, adding another 41 yards on 4 carries. Samuel ranked 31st among WRs in PPR points during that span. The former 2nd-rounder is capable of finishing at least that high in 2019.

Panthers TE Greg Olsen told reporters Wednesday that he's "been 100% for months" after last year's foot injuries. "I wasn’t and am not restricted at all," he added. Olsen has missed 16 games over the past 2 seasons, breaking his right foot twice and rupturing the plantar fascia in that same foot. Even when he's been on the field, his production has been down. Olsen has averaged 9.2 PPR points in 12 full games over the last 2 years -- a mark that would have ranked 14th among TEs in 2018. We're curious to get a look at him in training camp and the preseason but aren't currently banking on him returning to TE1-level production. The good news is that Olsen is cheap in fantasy drafts, with an ADP in the 13th round. He's a fine shot at that price.

Panthers QB Cam Newton (shoulder) was not placed on the PUP list to open training camp. It's not a surprise after he resumed throwing in late May. Newton's rehab from January shoulder surgery has gone smoothly by all accounts. HC Ron Rivera did say that Newton will be on a pitch count in camp. "All of his reps will be monitored, they'll be scripted out and we'll just follow that pattern as we go through," Rivera said. "We believe he'll be ready to roll. He had a good offseason." Although he comes with some risk after last year's shoulder problems, Newton is well worth his current 10th-round, QB10 ADP.

Panthers QB Cam Newton (shoulder) is expected to be a full participant when training camps gets going later this month, according to the Charlotte Observer's Brendan Marks. That's been the goal of Newton's rehab from January shoulder surgery all along -- and the process has gone smoothly by all accounts. Barring a setback this summer, Newton deserves to be 1 of the first 7 or 8 QBs off the board in fantasy drafts. He's a value at his current 9th-round, QB11 ADP.

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.

 
 
 

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