Reinhold Matay/USA Today

Carolina Panthers Release Swayze Waters; Sign Kasey Redfern

The Carolina Panthers close training camp this week but on Monday shook up the punter competition by releasing Swayze Waters and signing Kasey Redfern.

Aside from the cornerback position, the biggest question mark the Carolina Panthers needed to address was to find a starting punter. The team lost their starter from last season, Brad Nortman, during the offseason.

For most of training camp, it appeared to be a two man race between Swayze Waters and veteran Mike Scifres. However, that race has now changed as the team signed Kasey Redfern and waived Waters, according to the team.

Redfern is a local player and played his college football at the same place the Panthers hold their training camp, Wofford College. He then spent the 2014 and 2015 season with the Jacksonville Jaguars but didn't make the 53-man roster either year. In those two preseasons, Redfern averaged 46.4 yards per punt.

While Scifres appeared to be the favorite since the Panthers signed him, this isn't necessarily a great sign for the team's confidence in the veteran. If the Panthers were set on Scifres, it wouldn't make a great deal of sense to make this move now. They would have likely just kept Waters to help keep Scifres and cut him when the team needed to cut down the roster.

The Panthers' coaching staff, in particular the new special team's coordinator Thomas McGaughey, now has a small window to evaluate the punter position and find the starter. The winner of this job is going to have to excel in directional punting, which is an emphasis for McGaughey as it was for Bruce DeHaven.

"When you punt the ball in a direction you put that returner on 1/3 of the field or 1/4 of the field and that is all you have to cover."

The punter that is able to do this the best, will most likely have the best chance of winning the competition for the starting job.

Twitter @BrandonCroce

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