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Carolina Panthers
Cam Newton
Panthers owner unsure of Newton's timeline
Tue, Jan 15, 2019, 6:37 PM
ESPN Panthers reporter David Newton speculates Cam Newton could sit out the entire 2019 season if he undergoes another shoulder operation.
Analysis: It's pure speculation, and not particularly informed, though owner David Tepper also casually mentioned the possibility of Newton sitting out in 2019. "If you told me he took a year off and could recover and be fully recovered and everything else, and that's what it took, an extra year, why wouldn't you do that," Tapper asked rhetorically on Tuesday. At least as of January, that scenario does not seem particularly likely. Newton is opting for rest and rehab before deciding on his second operation in three years.
Cam Newton
Panthers unsure if Newton requires surgery
Tue, Jan 15, 2019, 4:23 PM
Joseph Person on Twitter
Speaking Tuesday, Panthers owner David Tepper said he had "no idea" if Cam Newton would undergo offseason shoulder surgery.
Analysis: Looking perhaps 60-70 percent healthy down the stretch because of his shoulder, Newton was held out for Weeks 16 and 17. Newton underwent shoulder surgery following the 2016 season and has not ruled out another operation. The time to decide will be soon, though rest and rehab is always the preferable course. The problem is it often fails.
Daryl Williams
Panthers RT Williams likely to test market
Tue, Jan 8, 2019, 8:44 AM
Charlotte Observer
The Charlotte Observer's Jourdan Rodrigue believes Panthers RT Daryl Williams is "likely to test the market."
Analysis: Williams broke out in 2017, but he tore his MCL and dislocated his kneecap in the preseason this year and lasted just 56 snaps when he attempted to return in Week 1. That injury is a concern, but at just 26, Williams should command a nice contract on the open market. With C Ryan Kalil retired, the Panthers have some serious issues to deal with along the offensive line this offseason.
Taylor Heinicke
Taylor Heinicke undergoes triceps surgery
Thu, Jan 3, 2019, 2:27 PM
Joseph Person on Twitter
Panthers QB Taylor Heinicke has undergone surgery to repair a "partially" torn triceps.
Analysis: Our most recent blurb on Heinicke was that he did not require surgery, so something changed in the intervening week. Heinicke was injured early in his first career start in Week 16. The exclusive rights free agent could end up missing some of the offseason program.
Isaiah Battle
Panthers hand out reserve/future contracts
Mon, Dec 31, 2018, 2:20 PM
Panthers signed OT Isaiah Battle, RB Reggie Bonnafon, LB Brandon Chubb, DB Cole Luke, DB Kai Nacua, DT Elijah Qualls, OG Ian Silberman, OG Landon Turner, WR DeAndrew White, LB Antwione Williams, DB Quin Blanding, DT Woodrow Hamilton and WR Andre Levrone to reserve/future contracts.
Analysis: An ex-fifth round supplemental pick of Jeff Fisher's Rams, Battle has never made a regular season appearance.
Jarius Wright
Jarius Wright gets two catches in 2018 finale
Sun, Dec 30, 2018, 6:14 PM
Jarius Wright secured 2-of-4 targets for 20 yards in Carolina's Week 17 win over the Saints.
Analysis: In a season that saw the Panthers shuffle their receiving corps throughout the year, Wright remained the constant in the slot. It still took Taylor Heinicke dumping check-downs in Week 16 for Wright to notch a season-high mark in targets (8). Wright inked a three-year deal with the Panthers back in March and, barring an unexpected free agent splash, should return in 2019 as the team's starting slot wideout with first-rounder D.J. Moore and former second-rounder Curtis Samuel on the outside.
Ian Thomas
Thomas finishes year on a high note (5/61/1)
Sun, Dec 30, 2018, 6:06 PM
Ian Thomas vacuumed 5-of-7 targets for 61 yards and one score in the Panthers' Week 17 regular season finale.
Analysis: The 6'4, 259-pound second-year pro was an afterthought to start the year, but was immediately thrust into action as Greg Olsen re-aggravated his offseason foot injury out the gates. Smith ended up making seven starts, totaling 28/268/2 in those outings. Smith's outlook in 2019 depends entirely on Olsen continuing his career for one more season. If Smith is handed the keys to his position, he'll arguably be an athletic every-down low-end TE1 with a healthy Cam Newton under center.
Torrey Smith
Torrey Smith gets a single target in final gm
Sun, Dec 30, 2018, 5:58 PM
Torrey Smith failed to catch his only target in Carolina's Week 17 victory over the Saints.
Analysis: The eight-year vet began the season in Carolina's starting lineup but didn't get his job back once a knee injury derailed his campaign in Week 7. Rookie D.J. Moore and former second-rounder Curtis Samuel took the reins from there as Smith saw just three targets over the Panthers' final five games to close out the year. The 29-year-old signed a three-year, $15 million contract in 2017 and is owed $5 million next season. There's legitimate potential the Panthers move forward without him in the offseason.
Curtis Samuel
Samuel hauls in touchdown in season finale
Sun, Dec 30, 2018, 5:47 PM
Curtis Samuel caught 2-of-4 targets for 72 yards and one score in the Panthers' Week 17 victory over the Saints.
Analysis: Samuel "slowly progressed" through OTAs and eventually ended up missing the team's first month of action. Even so, the former No. 40 overall pick scored six all-around touchdowns, including 37/422/4 receiving. Samuel peaked from Cam Newton's inability to throw downfield over the final month of the season, seeing 40 targets over five performances in December. With Devin Funchess headed to free agency in 2019, the Panthers expect to open the new year with first-rounder D.J. Moore and Samuel headlining the team's receiving corps. The second-year pro will be a trendy late-round selection with sneaky upside in 2019.
D.J. Moore
Moore's rollercoaster rookie year: 55/788/2
Sun, Dec 30, 2018, 5:14 PM
D.J. Moore hauled-in 55 catches for 788 yards and two touchdowns in his inaugural rookie campaign with the Panthers in 2018.
Analysis: It was a rollercoaster year for the rookie as he began the season behind Devin Funchess and Torrey Smith in Carolina's first seven games but eventually leapfrogged both en route to posterizing defenses for 60/597/1 in 10 second-half starts. That includes his miserable December (17/223) in which he ultimately went down with the ship (read: Cam Newton's shoulder). With Devin Funchess inevitably on his way out in free agency, Moore is expected to start alongside Curtis Samuel for the foreseeable future. The explosive first-rounder will return in 2019 as a high-end WR3 and Best Ball favorite.
Cameron Artis-Payne
Artis-Payne gets 16 carries in season finale
Sun, Dec 30, 2018, 4:41 PM
Cameron Artis-Payne rushed 19 times for 69 yards and one score for the Panthers in 2018.
Analysis: Playing second-fiddle to C.J. Anderson in a meaningless backup role, CAP stayed an afterthought throughout the year. Even when Anderson was released (essentially propelling Artis-Payne to No. 2), he got just three carries until his 16 in a mop-up role in Week 17 with UDFA Kyle Allen under center. Artis-Payne is likely heading to free agency and could strike a deal that puts him in a early-down bruiser role in a committee. He'll turn 29 in June.
Kyle Allen
Kyle Allen scores 3 TDs in first career start
Sun, Dec 30, 2018, 4:23 PM
Kyle Allen completed 16-of-27 passes for 228 yards and two touchdowns in his first career start (and win) in Week 17.
Analysis: He also scrambled five times for 19 yards and another score. Allen only received the opportunity because both Cam Newton (shoulder) and Taylor Heinicke (elbow) went down, but he showed poise and responded with fervency against New Orleans' defensive backups. Heinicke is an exceptional athlete, but Allen flashed just enough in his limited showing to close the year that the Panthers may open up an opportunity for the UDFA to stick with the team as depth in 2019.
Cam Newton
Cam completes career-best 67.9% of att in '18
Sun, Dec 30, 2018, 3:38 PM
Cam Newton completed a career-best 67.9% of his passes for 3,395 yards, 24 touchdowns, and 13 picks over 14 games, adding 101/488/4 rushing for the Panthers in 2018.
Analysis: The Panthers and Newton came out the gates hot, rolling to a 6-2 record on the back of the play-caller's swiss-army knife 1,893 passing yards and 15:4 TD:INT ratio (to go along with his 73/342/4 rushing). Newton's season was a tale of two halves, though, as the former MVP's ailing shoulder ultimately limited him to a downright miserable 1,502 and 9:9 with just 28 carries over his last six games (all losses). With the team's playoff odds long gone, Cam was inevitably shut down in favor of Taylor Heinicke/Kyle Allen in Carolina's final two contests, finishing the year with a career-high 67.9% completion rate. Entering 2019 surrounded by what will arguably be his most explosive receiving cast in his eight-year tenure with the Panthers, Newton will again be a high-floor QB1 worth plucking off boards in the middling rounds of fantasy drafts.
Christian McCaffrey
McCaffrey totals 1,965/13 TDs in breakout '18
Sun, Dec 30, 2018, 3:16 PM
Christian McCaffrey joined the prestigious 1,000/100 club, rushing for 1,098/7 on 219 carries and adding 107/867/6 receiving for the Panthers in 2018.
Analysis: It seems like only yesterday that the addition of C.J. Anderson in free agency was viewed as an actual threat to McCaffrey's playing time. The former No. 8 overall pick inevitably handled nearly every snap for the Panthers, only coming off the field once Cam Newton and the team's playoff hopes were both shutdown at season's end. Averaging an absurd 7.7 targets per game, the second-year pro was one of the few treasures at his position that remained matchup-proof due to his elite go-to usage as Carolina's indisputable primary receiver. Heading into next season with a healthy Newton under center, the days of McCaffrey being a second-rounder are clearly long gone. He'll undoubtedly be a top-three option at his position in 2019.
Devin Funchess
Funchess healthy scratched in Panthers finale
Sun, Dec 30, 2018, 10:37 AM
Panthers declared WR Devin Funchess, DT Kawann Short, QB Cam Newton, OG Trai Turner, CB Lorenzo Doss, DE Efe Obada, and TE Jason Vander Laan inactive for Week 17 against the Saints.
Analysis: Having had his playing time scaled back immensely since returning from injury, Funchess has likely played his final game with the Panthers. The former second-rounder will enter free agency with a total 63/840/8 accumulated over four limited seasons with the Panthers. Christian McCaffrey is active for Week 17, but isn't expected to play much.
Kawann Short
Kawaan Short (calf) to miss Sunday's finale
Fri, Dec 28, 2018, 12:14 PM
Panthers DT Kawaan Short (calf) is out for Week 17 against the Saints.
Analysis: RG Trai Turner (ankle) will also miss Sunday's finale. Short's absence is an upgrade for the Saints' ground attack, though Alvin Kamara and Mark Ingram aren't expected to play much in a game that means nothing for New Orleans. Short holds PFF's No. 8 run-stopping grade out of 111 qualifiers at defensive tackle this year.
Taylor Heinicke
Taylor Heinicke doesn't require surgery
Thu, Dec 27, 2018, 1:50 PM
Joseph Person on Twitter
Panthers QB Taylor Heinicke (hyperextended elbow, injured reserve) does not require surgery.
Analysis: Going on 26, Heinicke should be ready for the offseason program. He's an exclusive rights free agent. We would assume Heinicke will not be guaranteed No. 2 duties behind Cam Newton.
Christian McCaffrey
Ron Rivera mum on rest plans for Week 17
Thu, Dec 27, 2018, 1:33 PM
Joseph Person on Twitter
Speaking Thursday, Panthers coach Ron Rivera declined comment on specific players he might rest in Week 17 but reiterated he wants to "evaluate some young players."
Analysis: "We have some plans for some guys," was as specific as Rivera was willing to get. It certainly sounds like he is planning to give Christian McCaffrey a bit of a breather, but the Panthers don't have any other young players at running back worth evaluation. It could simply be Cameron Artis-Payne running out the string of the Panthers' sideways season.
Devin Funchess
'0 percent' chance Devin Funchess returns
Thu, Dec 27, 2018, 9:17 AM
The Athletic
The Athletic's Joe Person gives impending free agent Devin Funchess a "0 percent" chance to return to the Panthers.
Analysis: The writing has been on the wall for Funchess, whose snaps have been dramatically scaled back over the last month. In what looks like a fairly weak free agent class, it will be interesting to see how Funchess is valued by the rest of the league. The former second-round pick topped out at 63 catches, 840 yards, and eight touchdowns during his four seasons with the Panthers.
Kyle Allen
Panthers onto No. 3 QB Kyle Allen for Week 17
Wed, Dec 26, 2018, 1:42 PM
Kyle Allen will start the Panthers' Week 17 finale against the Saints.
Analysis: Cam Newton (shoulder) isn't healthy and Taylor Heinicke injured his left elbow last Sunday and was sent to I.R. on Wednesday. That leaves UDFA rookie Allen atop the depth chart, followed by Garrett Gilbert, who was signed Wednesday. Allen (6'3/210) came on for a series last week and went 4-of-4 for 38 scoreless yards. Tee up the Saints defensive unit at home for this matchup.