For the first time in his NFL career, Charles Johnson will be looking for a new home.
The Carolina Panthers on Thursday announced that they’ve released the longtime defensive end, a move expected to free up $11 million in cap space. Johnson agreed to a six-year, $76 million contract in 2011.
Second in franchise history in sacks (63.5) and forced fumbles (17), Johnson enters free agency as one of the best players to ever suit up for the Panthers, who drafted him in 2007 out of UGA.
Although he tallied three sacks during the playoffs, the 6-foot-2, 276-pounder missed seven games last year with an injured hamstring and finished the regular season with one sack in nine appearances.
“Charles has had a very good career as a Carolina Panther and I’ve enjoyed coaching him the past five seasons,” Panthers coach Ron Rivera said. “Charles fought through adversity with his injury last season and set a great example for our locker room as a captain. I have a great deal of respect for Charles as a player and a person and thank him for all the contributions he has made to this team.”