Panthers Make Big Free Agency Decision on Veteran Lineman

Carolina will have a new starting center in 2024.
Bradley Bozeman will be released by the Panthers after starting all 17 games last season
Bradley Bozeman will be released by the Panthers after starting all 17 games last season / Jim Dedmon-USA TODAY Sports

The Panthers made their first big roster cut of the offseason, releasing veteran center Bradley Bozeman to avoid paying a $1.5 million roster bonus he was due Saturday.

Bozeman started 28 games over the last two seasons, including all 17 this year. However, the 30-year-old center isn't a great fit for Dave Canales' new offense. Carolina expects to get younger and more athletic at the position, possibly through the NFL Draft.

The Panthers' nominee for the Walter Payton Man of the Year award originally signed a three-year, $18 million contract with Carolina after spending four years in Baltimore. He'll likely be a sought-after player with 77 career starts and beloved actions around the community.

Panthers Release Veteran Center Bradley Bozeman

He'll likely have suitors quickly across the league, and the Panthers will move in a younger direction overall as they try to build a winning foundation around last year's No. 1 overall pick, QB Bryce Young.

After placing the franchise tag on Brian Burns, Carolina is still trying to keep impact players while finding areas to save money where they can. In a draft class considered strong on the offensive line, it makes sense to find Bozeman's replacement and let him start building rapport with Young.

At the same time, the free agency market has several reliable options available, and someone like Lloyd Cushenberry or Evan Brown could be a better fit.

NFL Free Agency officially begins March 13, though we'll see reports of expected signings in the coming days. For now, the Panthers are making a clear effort to free up some space and start planning for the future.

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