It is the season of waiving players in the NFL, and the next two to go in that direction are the Carolina Panthers, releasing long-time pass rusher Charles Johnson, and the Houston Texans, releasing maybe the most recognizable offensive player in franchise history, Arian Foster.
For both players it doesn’t mean it’s over with their respective teams, if they’re willing to sign a new deal for a lot less money, which is the basis for the cuts, compared to what these players are giving on the field. Foster played in just four games in 2015, rushing for 163 yards. Johnson missed 7 games in 2015 and finished with just one sack.
Foster, 29, who has been with the Texans since 2009, rushing for 6472 yards in 76 games including four seasons of 1200 yards or more, was going to count for $8.9 million against the cap in 2016. By releasing him, which is something Foster saw coming from pretty much midway through the season, they save$6.6 million under the cap, coming with $2.3 million of dead money.
The story is pretty similar with Johnson, who has been with the Panthers since 2007, finishing with 8.5 sacks or more in each season from 2010 to 2014. His cap hit for 2016 was going to be over $15 million, and by releasing him the Panthers save $11 million which they need for some of their more vital re-signings like Josh Norman, who got the franchise tag.
The Panthers actually offered Johnson to take a paycut in order to stay but he wouldn’t go through with it, resulting in his release. This doesn’t mean it’s the end of the relationship between the two sides, although if Johnson proves to teams the injury from last season isn’t going to slow him down too much, it’s not going to be difficult for him getting a decent long term deal, with him turning 30 in the summer.
A number of team “symbols” have been released over the last couple of days and the trend is going to continue as we venture deeper into March and closer to the beginning of free agency.