Panthers hold few surprises when trimming roster to final 53

NFL receiver-turned-quarterback Joe Webb greatly increased his chances of making the Panthers' final roster of 53 after starting QB Cam Newton incurred a rib fracture last week.

Jason Bridge

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — While other teams let go of big names on the NFL’s final cutdown day, the Carolina Panthers had few surprises when trimming their active roster to 53 players on Saturday afternoon.

Carolina dropped three players that started at least four games last season — guard Chris Scott, who started a preseason game this season; safety Robert Lester and cornerback Josh Thomas, who was once viewed as a potential starter not too long ago.

The Panthers are carrying three quarterbacks, with the addition of veteran Joe Webb. Last season, the club only had two on the 53-man list. But head coach Ron Rivera made no secrets last week when he said the odds of Webb making the roster increased with the injuries to quarterback Cam Newton.

It’s important to note: Not every player who survived Saturday’s cut is a lock to be on Carolina’s Week 1 roster, should the club opt to sign players cut by other teams, which is a very real possibility.

The Panthers need a wide receiver and at least one offensive tackle. An addition in the secondary wouldn’t hurt, either.

If a receiver is signed, either undrafted rookie Philly Brown or local product Breton Bersin, who spent last season on the practice squad, would likely get cut.

In a bit of a surprising move, the Panthers kept undrafted rookie David Foucault, who is French-Canadian and was selected fifth overall by the Montreal Alouettes in this year’s Canadian Football League Draft.

Should the Panthers sign an offensive tackle, Foncault could be let go to make room.

Third-year defensive end Frank Alexander doesn’t count against the roster because he is suspended the first four games (violation of league’s substance-abuse policy). When he returns, the Panthers will have to release a player.

There were some big questions about some players that wound up making the team, including veteran Charles Godfrey, who has moved from safety to nickel for the first time in his career and has struggled in training camp; and Josh Norman, who has been in-and-out of River’s doghouse more than can be counted.

ROSTER BREAKDOWN

Quarterback — 3
Running Back — 4
Wide Receiver — 5
Tight End — 4
Offensive Line — 10
Defensive Line — 9
Linebacker — 6
Secondary — 9
Special Teams — 3