The Carolina Panthers released veteran defensive end Charles Johnson, the National Football League team announced on Monday. He was a part of the 2015 team that reached the Super Bowl as a star of the defense, leading the team in interceptions (seven).
These moves helped move the Panthers to just under $27 million in salary cap space that could allow them to be a bigger factor on the open market.
Neither are surprises, as Johnson's ability declined a lot in the past year and Coleman's play did not justify his $5.15 million cap hit for next season. Johnson was suspended four games for testing positive for performance enhancing drugs, and finished with no sacks despite playing in 12 games. Coleman signed a three-year, $17 million extension ($ 7 million guaranteed) in 2016. The move will only free up approximately $150k of salary cap room.
The release of Coleman who will turn 30 in July gave the Panthers $2.65 million in cap space. Johnson recorded 67.5 sacks in his 11 seasons, ranking second in franchise history behind Julius Peppers. The 31-year-old recorded exactly zero sacks in 2017 in a year where he played following offseason back surgery. The linebacker played in 13 games (five starts) in 2017, finishing the year with 21 tackles and four sacks.