The Panthers’ quest for more cap space has cost a former starting lineman his job ahead of free agency.
On Tuesday, the Panthers released veteran center Pat Elflein, the team announced. Elflein’s release will open up $4.26 million in cap space ahead of free agency, according to Over The Cap.
Elflein’s release comes less than 24 hours after the Panthers agreed to terms with his replacement, Bradley Bozeman, on a three-year, $18 million deal. Bozeman will continue to start at center under new head coach Frank Reich.
Elflein, 28, signed a three-year deal with the Panthers in 2021. The former Minnesota Vikings and New York Jets lineman appeared 15 total games for the Panthers as a starting center during the past two seasons.
This past season, Elflein sustained a season-ending hip injury in a Week 6 loss to the Los Angeles Rams. He was placed on injured reserve and underwent surgery to repair the injury.
With Elflein sidelined, Bozeman entered the lineup and thrived. Bozeman started the final 11 games of season.
Elflein joins linebacker Damien Wilson as a cap casualty ahead of free agency. Elflein and Wilson will be able to get ahead of the free-agent market, which opens on Wednesday at 4 p.m.