The Carolina Panthers decided to release two players in the trenches today, and one of the releases was a surprise with the other one coming as little surprise. The Panthers are busy cutting players right now with three recent cuts in total, and Joe Person of the Charlotte Observer tweeted that the Panthers cut offensive lineman Zachary Williams. The 24-year-old Washington State product will likely land on a practice squad somewhere else, and the Panthers decision to release him was not surprising. However, the announcement that Thomas Keiser made over Twitter regarding his release from the team was the real surprise here.
Williams is 6’3″, 309 pounds and a guard who is recovering from his second torn ACL in just two years. We all wish Williams the best of luck in his recovery, but his release from the Panthers was not surprising. It will be interesting to see how quickly he finds work, and that definitely hinges on his recovery speed from his second devastating injury. Once he has proven himself to be fully healthy, then Williams will latch on to somebody’s practice squad. The center/guard was a sixth-round pick by the Panthers in the 2011 NFL Draft and was promoted from the practice squad to replace center Thomas Austin in early November last year, but he was placed on the injured reserve with the devastating knee injury.
Last season, Thomas Keiser recorded four sacks and was a quality, young backup for the Panthers. His release from the team was a very quizzical decision made by the Panthers, and I don’t think Gettleman has done a perfect job. He’s been good and this release isn’t a huge deal in the long run, but the Panthers decision to release a 24-year-old defensive end who has done a solid job for little pay is one that I really don’t agree with.
I fully expect Keiser to find work somewhere else quickly, because he is a stand-up guy, a smart leader, and the Panthers lost some quality depth at a position that looks a bit uncertain now depth-wise. Keiser is a solid backup defensive end, and he played well before landing on the injured reserve in mid-November (man, so many Panthers players got injured last season and placed on the I.R.) with an elbow injury. This wasn’t a horrible move and there are probably legitimate reasons why the Panthers did this, but it’s a move that is a bit surprising overall.
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