The Panthers will get to their final 53-man roster this afternoon (not that it will be the one they take to San Diego next weekend). Here’s a prediction of how the cuts and moves could go.
Reserve-suspended: WR Steve Smith (he won’t count against the 53 until Week 3)
Released: QB Brett Basanez, RBs LaBrandon Toefield and DeCori Birmingham; FB Troy Fleming; WRs Travis Taylor, Chris Hannon, Dominique Thompson and William Buchanon; TE Chad Upshaw; OL Frank Omiyale, Evan Mathis, Rueben Riley, Geoff Schwartz and Mackenzy Bernardeau.
DE Hilee Taylor, DT Steve Williams, LB James Anderson and Tim Shaw; CBs C.J. Wilson and Darren Toney, S Nate Salley and Joe Fields.
That would leave the following 53 players on the regular-season roster:
QBs Jake Delhomme, Matt Moore and Josh McCown; RBs DeAngelo Williams Jonathan Stewart and Nick Goings; FB Brad Hoover; WRs Muhsin Muhammad, Dwayne Jarrett, D.J. Hackett, Ryne Robinson and Samie Parker (for now); TEs Jeff King, Dante Rosario and Gary Barnidge; OL Jordan Gross, Travelle Wharton, Ryan Kalil, Keydrick Vincent, Jeff Otah, Toniu Fonoti, Geoff Hangartner, Milford Brown and Jeremy Bridges.
DEs Julius Peppers, Tyler Brayton, Charles Johnson and Stanley McClover; DTs Maake Kemoeatu, Damione Lewis, Darwin Walker, Gary Gibson and Nick Hayden; LBs Thomas Davis, Jon Beason, Na’il Diggs, Adam Seward, Landon Johnson, Donte Curry and Dan Connor; CBs Ken Lucas, Chris Gamble, Richard Marshall, Ricardo Colclough and Dante Wesley, S Chris Harris, Charles Godfrey, Terrence Holt and Quinton Teal.
Ks John Kasay and Rhys Lloyd, P Jason Baker and LS Jason Kyle.
Notes: Even though Matt Moore’s injury wasn’t serious, trading for McCown gives them a veteran option behind Delhomme. This scenario also leaves them extremely thin at receiver the first two games. The extra roster spot for Lloyd has to come from the offense, or the special teams lose a core player. Parker’s name is in that spot for now, but if they see the right name come across the wires tonight, they’ll be more than willing to swap him out if they think they can upgrade.
— They better be sure Robinson’s back before the end of the month if they keep a roster spot for him now. It’s the same injury that knocked Nate Salley out all last year, when they waited until midway through to IR him. Waiting too long for Robinson to recover might cost them someone they don’t want to lose (Shaw, one of the young receivers).
— I’ve got them keeping nine linemen on either side, and that’s about as low as they can go. Either Omiyale (or Fonoti) would be the last man out.