On a day when one of their NFC South rivals claimed five players on waivers, the Carolina Panthers stood pat with the 53-man roster they set Saturday.
While Tampa Bay, which had the first pick on the waiver wire by virtue of its abysmal, 2-14 record in 2014, added five players, the Panthers were quiet Sunday in terms of roster moves.
It’s uncertain whether the Panthers, who were 25th in the waiver order, put in a claim for anybody. But the word from inside the organization is that the coaches and front office are pleased with the roster they’ll take into Week 1 at Jacksonville, all things considered.
Many Panthers fans took to Twitter to call for help at wide receiver, in the wake of No. 1 wideout Kelvin Benjamin’s season-ending ACL injury in training camp.
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Wide receiver James Jones signed with Green Bay on Sunday, re-joining his former team a day after the New York Giants released him, according to multiple reports. The Panthers never showed an interest in the 6-1, 208-pound Jones, according to a league source.
Likewise, the Panthers chose not to go after wide receiver Duron Carter, a source said. Carter, the son of Hall of Fame wideout Cris Carter, visited the Panthers in January.
Duron Carter ended up returning to the Colts as a member of their practice squad after going unclaimed on waivers.
All 18 players the Panthers waived on Saturday cleared waivers and became free agents. Ten of them came back to Carolina’s practice squad, a list led by wide receivers Brenton Bersin and Damiere Byrd and linebacker Adarius Glanton.
As far as the active roster, 37 of the 53 players were holdovers from the opening-week roster last season.
Depending on your point of view, that either represents stability from a franchise coming off the only back-to-back playoff appearances in its history or one that was not aggressive enough in turning over the roster.
The Panthers made improving their special teams a big point of emphasis during the offseason after finishing at or near the bottom in several key special teams categories in 2014.
Carolina signed five so-called special teams aces last winter, only two of whom made the roster – cornerback Teddy Williams and safety Kurt Coleman, whose special teams reps might be limited after he earned a starting spot on defense.
But the Panthers greatly improved their return game by re-signing Ted Ginn, who also will bring a speed element to the offense following his disappointing, one-year stint with Arizona.
The big questions for the Panthers this week will involve the health of several starters who were sidelined at the end of the preseason.
Starting cornerbacks Charles Tillman and Josh Norman are progressing well in the NFL’s concussion protocol, according to a team source. The fact the Panthers did not pursue any corners would seem to support that, although both will have to be cleared by an independent neurologist before they can play against the Jaguars.
Ryan Kalil, the team’s Pro Bowl center, said late last week he plans to play at Jacksonville. Kalil missed the last two exhibition games with a sprained knee.
The status of defensive end Charles Johnson (trapezius) and defensive tackle Star Lotulelei (foot) is less certain, although the Panthers will have a better idea following Monday’s practice.
Lotulelei hasn’t been on the practice field since developing a stress reaction in his surgically repaired right foot Aug. 3 during one of the first sessions in Spartanburg.
Johnson did not play in any exhibition games as a result of his strained calf and a neck/shoulder injury, which he sustained last week.