Carolina Panthers

Sources: Why receiver Russell Shepard asked for release from Carolina Panthers

Carolina Panthers wide receiver Russell Shepard (19) was not targeted much in 2017, and sources told the Observer he has asked for his release after refusing to take a pay cut.
Carolina Panthers wide receiver Russell Shepard (19) was not targeted much in 2017, and sources told the Observer he has asked for his release after refusing to take a pay cut. AP

The Carolina Panthers have revamped their wide receiver position throughout the offseason with several acquisitions.

On Monday the makeover continued with a departure.

Russell Shepard asked for his release after refusing to take a pay cut, two league sources told the Observer. The team announced Shepard's release Monday afternoon, making him a free agent.

The move will save the Panthers a little more than $2.1 million against the salary cap.

"It was fun while it lasted," Shepard posted on his Instagram, while also thanking the Panthers for the opportunity and adding that he is excited to see what's next.

Former general manager Dave Gettleman signed Shepard to a three-year, $10 million contract in 2017.

But the former Tampa Bay wideout failed to make much of an impact in his only season with Carolina, catching only 17 passes for 202 yards and one touchdown. His lone score came in a Week 1 win at San Francisco.

Pro Football Focus ranked Shepard the NFL’s 111th-best receiver last season.

He also contributed as Carolina's "gunner" on special teams.

There was no guarantee Shepard was going to be on the roster after the Panthers traded for speed wideout Torrey Smith, added free agent Jarius Wright in the slot and drafted Maryland receiver D.J. Moore with the 24th overall pick.

The Panthers also have young wideouts Curtis Samuel and Damiere Byrd returning from injury.

Joseph Person: 704-358-5123, @josephperson


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