The Carolina Panthers have to get down to the final roster by 6 p.m. today.
With 75 players on the roster (* and a two-week exemption for soon-to-be suspended OL Jeremy Bridges), the Panthers have to pare the roster by 21 names to get to the limit.
A look at who Herald reporter Darin Gantt would pick, followed by the guys on the outside looking in:
QBs (2): Jake Delhomme, David Carr.
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RBs (4): DeShaun Foster, DeAngelo Williams, Nick Goings, Alex Haynes.
FBs (1): Brad Hoover.
TEs (3): Jeff King, Dante Rosario, Michael Gaines.
WRs (6): Steve Smith, Keary Colbert, Drew Carter, Ryne Robinson, Dwayne Jarrett, Chris Horn.
OL: (9 plus 1): Travelle Wharton, Mike Wahle, Justin Hartwig, Ryan Kalil, Jordan Gross, Rashad Butler, *Jeremy Bridges, Geoff Hangartner, D'Anthony Batiste, Evan Mathis.
DEs (5): Julius Peppers, Mike Rucker, Stanley McClover, Dave Ball, Charles Johnson.
DTs (4): Maake Kemoeatu, Kris Jenkins, Damione Lewis, Kindal Moorehead.
LBs (7): Thomas Davis, Dan Morgan, Jon Beason, Na'il Diggs, Adam Seward, James Anderson, Brandon Jamison.
CBs (5): Ken Lucas, Chris Gamble, Richard Marshall, Curtis Deloatch, Christian Morton.
Ss (4): Chris Harris, Deke Cooper, Nate Salley, Quinton Teal.
Special teamers (3): K John Kasay, P Jason Baker, LS Jason Kyle.
Total: 54, including the suspended Bridges.
QB Dalton Bell, RB Eric Shelton, FBs Steven Jackson and Billy Latsko, TE Chad Upshaw, WRs Taye Biddle and Kevin Youngblood, OLs Kenyatta Walker, Will Montgomery, Rueben Riley, Thed Watson and Bobby Harris, DE Otis Grigsby, DTs Stephen Williams and Gary Gibson, LBs Tim Shaw, Mickey Pimentel and Phillipe Gardent, CB Derrick Strait, Ss Cam Newton and C.J. Wilson.
Notes on the process
• Shelton's release comes two years too late. Noses out DE Shawn King for (dis-)honor of worst second-round pick ever. They at least got two good games out of C Bruce Nelson before his hips went bad.
• Some of the guys who made it shouldn't unpack everything just yet. Gaines and the fourth safety in particular could be vulnerable in the coming days, as they pick through what's cut elsewhere. Upgrades will be available.
• Cutting Shaw is tough, but Jamison offers more immediate special teams help. Shaw could be this year's Nate Salley, hanging around the practice squad until there's a spot for him.
• They always say they're picking their best 53, and in this case, the fifth corner (Morton or Deloatch) is much better than anyone who'd be the fourth or fifth safety.
• Either Mathis or Montgomery has a two-week audition to hang around until Bridges is eligible again. If Walker makes the roster, it must mean he has guaranteed money, because they're not ready to give up on Butler.
• Two quarterbacks should be plenty, but just one fullback is dicey. Rosario can play there in a pinch, as can Goings.
• Picking eight inactives each week should be interesting. DE Johnson's a regular on this list if he makes it that far, along with two of the OL. Salley goes here until he gets healthy, as well as the sixth WR and Haynes.
That leaves two spots, meaning one of the corners, a linebacker (probably Anderson), or one of the defensive linemen (Ball probably) would have to sit each week.