The Panthers made their first cut Thursday, and it was a bit of a surprise.
The team released DT Damione Lewis, taking the most dependable veteran out of a room full of young, unproven players. Lewis led all Panthers linemen in tackles last year, and was a steadying influence during an injury plagued year.
But as with most cuts, his came down to finances. Though his deal was billed as being through 2014, it was going to revert to his original terms when a $9.3 million bonus wasn’t paid. Then, he’d have been due a $4 million base salary this year, along with a $1 million roster bonus in April.
That proved to be more of a price than they were willing to pay. Lewis said Thursday night he had gone to the Panthers asking for an extension recently, and their answer was an omen.
“I kind of figured when they turned me down it might come to this,” Lewis said. “This is the business, and with everything going on with the CBA and a possible lockout next year, I guess I’m one of the victims.”
Lewis said the Panthers did not bring up the possibility of bringing him back at a reduced rate, so he’s planning to look for work elsewhere.
“I feel like I played well enough last year, that I should be able to find something.