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Monday, September 7, 2009

Mark Jones To Return? Stewart To IR?

To add to the two waiver claims, it looks like the Panthers are going to make an attempt at reviving Mark Jones.

Jones was one of the various roleplayers that left in the exodus that some would call the offseason of 2009 - with more and more veterans being replaced by inexperienced or just outright green backups. Having signed a two year deal with $200,000 to sign with the Titans, many believed the Panthers would pickup the leftovers from Tennessee, Chris Carr, but the Panthers stood pat and in traditional fashion lately, drafted their way into a replacement (or two, if you count KR/RB Mike Goodson).

Candidates to Cut?

The Panthers would have to release one player to let Jones back on, so one young player who obviously just celebrated making the opening day roster will end up leaving disappointed. A young player makes a lot of sense to cut - they have three spots left on their practice squad, and that player could quietly transition there.

Captain Munnerlyn - kept primarily for his promise as a corner, he showed as a solid punt returner but can't hold onto balls. He won't stay ahead of Sherrod Martin, who's struggled, but he does have a future here as a defender (the team has starter Richard Marshall as a free agent after the year, along with vet backup Dante Wesley; current nickel CJ Wilson is RFA). With Jones here, Munnerlyn would definitely be at least inactive, if needed at all this year. If Munnerlyn doesn't make it, he'd be the first 2009 draft pick to be cut (3rd rounder Corvey Irvin was the first to depart, to IR, but the team obviously keeps his rights).

Hilee Taylor - Taylor didn't play in nine games, so he could easily go to the practice squad. But it's not a certainty Taylor makes it past waivers. As the 5th DE on a team stacked at DE, the best hope there is that a late cut means another team won't want to clear room for him, but a team would come calling eventually.

Garry Williams - the team's 9th best lineman in theory, having not been drafted or tenured from last year, Williams is the backup at left tackle who'd never be active. They'd put Travelle Wharton at a tackle spot if they had a need. Only the 3rd undrafted rookie to make a John Fox team, Williams has promise but would probably make it to the practice squad.

They could, of course, cut one of the two waiver pickups they just received. Sutton makes more sense than Harris, since the team does still need a DT worse than a RB, though they'd have two days to take a good hard look at either player if that's all they wanted.
Then there's the nuclear option -

Jonathan Stewart.

I've been quiet about Stewart's lack of practicing - and he says he'll play against Philadelphia. If he shows any signs of improvement, it's obviously within reason to keep Stewart on and hope, at the least, he could return after the bye week (that would give a full month's rest to go with the month he just took). But, at some point it's possible he's going to need surgery to repair that Achilles' injury he says came from compensating for the turf toe that's now said to be fine.
If he gets any work done on it, he's essentially done for the year.

With Mike Goodson taking so many backup snaps, and with the team picking up a very similar player to Goodson in Terrell Sutton, the possibility is still there. Stewart may not play this year.
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