Is Carolina in the market for a big back?

As the NFL Roster deadline approaches at 6pm Eastern today, the Carolina Panthers could be looking to land a little bulk and experience at running back.

According to John Clayton of ESPN, Denver's Ron Dayne expects to be cut when Denver finalizes their roster today. Carolina, who needs a short-yardage back, could be in the market. Panthers head coach John Fox is familiar with Dayne from their shared days with the Giants several years ago. Rumor also has it that the Panthers were interested in Dayne when he hit the free agent market last season, but felt they had that big back-role filled when they drafted Eric Shelton in the second round of the 2005 draft, and Stephen Davis returning from injury. A year later, Davis is already gone and Shelton may be as well by 6pm today.

Dayne, a former first round pick of the New York Giants in 2000, never lived up to his first-round draft status. In the past six seasons, Dayne started only 14 out of the 72 games he played, amassing 2,337 yards and 17 touchdowns, and averaging 3.7 yards per carry for his career.

Dayne was expected to be atop the Broncos' depth chart at running back, but a nagging turf toe injury has kept him out of practice and preseason games since August 11th. Dayne's absence has allowed fellow running backs Mike Bell, Tatum Bell and Cedric Cobbs to leapfrog him on the depth chart, leading the 6-year veteran to believe he is on the bubble.Although the turf toe injury is improving, it's still painful, and affecting his acceleration and ability to make certain cuts. Despite the injury, the Panthers could stash Dayne on the Roster and allow him time torecuperate , as they have DeShaun Foster, DeAngelo Williams and Nick Goings at running back presently. But with Foster's injury history, William's inexperience and small stature, and Goings' "averageness", the Panthers could use an experienced big back who can pass block -- precisely what they wanted when they drafted Eric Shelton in 2005.

Dayne played well with Denver last season, picking up their zone blocking scheme and gaining 270 yards on 53 attempts for an average of 5.1 yards per carry.

The Panthers have roughly $6 million in cap space, If the price is right, Dayne could fit in Carolina.

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