You can't really say that any of the players left unprotected for the Houston Texans expansion draft, by the Panthers, are surprises. What four of them are, are high-dollar guys whose contracts the club would love to unload.
The five are:
Running back Tshimanga Biakabutuka (injured again most of the year) who is slated to make nearly $3 million next year.
Cornerback Doug Evans who had a career high interception total...and has a salary of more than $7.4 million coming in 2002.
Defensive end Sean Gilbert. He's never lived up to the salary the Panthers gave him, and is scheduled to make more than $10 million next year.
Cornerback Jimmy Hitchcock. A local guy who has played mediocre at best and is up for then $4.3 million next year.
Linebacker Dean Wells. He's the one guy who may have appeal to the Texans, his 2002 hit is nearly $1.7 million.
The irony in this list is that Texas coach Dom Capers is the guy who drafted Biakabutuaka with the Panthers, and the guy who gave Evans and Gilbert the huge deals Carolina is saddled with today.