The Bengals cut former Panthers starter Travelle Wharton today.
Wharton, the former South Carolina star, started when healthy from
midway through 2004 through 2011 for the Panthers, totaling 99 starts.
2004 was at guard; 2008 and on, with a new contract was at guard as
well. The space between the two, minus injury, was at left tackle.
He was cut going into 2012 because of cap reasons and replaced by Amini
Silatolu, a rookie 2nd rounder who initially struggled and eventually
Obviously, it makes sense to link Wharton and the Panthers. He has
experience here, and he has the potential to be a solid starter at
But there are obviously barriers to that happening, too. New GM Dave
Gettleman doesn't have the history with him; he doesn't appear to be
sentimental the way that Marty Hurney was about players (if that in fact
was him, and not Jerry Richardson).
Carolina has Silatolu starting again; they have no room on the left
side, and Wharton's only been a left side player. They have a hole at
right guard, in my opinion; Geoff Hangartner was an awful guard last
year and even worse center in 2012, Garry Williams has spent a
significant amount of time injured and has never shown anything at guard
(you could argue that 2010 was OK as a pass blocker at RT). Rookie Ed
Kugbila is the other option, and whether fair or not, he's got the same
small school leap to make as Silatolu.
The amount of "ifs" to process are massive. He's 32, so you have to
wonder what he has left; he's coming off a preseason 2012 ACL injury, so
you have to hope he's healthy. Then you have to be willing to process
his talent - would he be a better backup option at LT and LG? Possibly.
Does he have the ability to play to the right? If he did, sign him
up, but most players don't like the switch.
On paper, a best-9 of linemen, Wharton definitely pushes a lesser
player off the roster, and improves things overall, but doesn't help
right guard. He probably replaces Bruce Campbell, and backs both spots,
if he's healthy.
As well, there are experienced players who might improve the team more
- Brandon Moore, Eric Winston - at that right side that could be a sore
spot. Both players, along with a handful of other veterans out there,
are probably unwilling to take a base deal, and Wharton might.