Panthers begin roster purge

The Panthers began their purge today, releasing defensive end Al Wallace, who had been with the team since acquiring him in a trade in 2002.

Wallace was scheduled to make $1.9 million this season. By releasing him now, the team saved $1.4 million.

With starting DE Mike Rucker on the shelf after tearing an ACL late last season, the Panthers are suddenly thin at end, with Julius Peppers and 2006 7th round pick Stanley McClover as the only other NFL calibre ends on the team. McClover came on strong at the end of last season, but the team will likely look to the draft for some depth. Defensive tackle Damione Lewis can play DE in a pinch, but isn't ideal as an every-down player at end.

With little cap space, the Panthers can't afford to bring in a high-dollar replacement for Rucker or Wallace. Some of the players that figure to be available during free agency are Marcellus Wiley (Jacksonville), former Panther Kemp Rasmussen (Seattle), Patrick Kerney (Atlanta), N.D. Kalu (Houston), Vonnie Holliday (Miami), Charles Grant (New Orleans) and David Bowens (Miami).

It's more likely that the Panthers will try to make an impact via the draft, with players like Charles Johnson (Georgia), Jarvis Moss (Florida), Victor Abiamiri (Notre Dame), Ikaika Alama-Francis (Hawaii), Anthony Spencer (Purdue), LaMarr Woodley (Michigan) and Jay Moore (Nebraska) available.

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