With just over two weeks before the start of the new league year, the Panthers have begun to trim the fat.
No pun intended.
Carolina on Tuesday released fullback Mike Tolbert, who embraced nicknames like "Tub of Goo" during his five seasons in Charlotte.
But Tolbert, 31, couldn't hide his age in 2016, when he totaled just 186 yards, his fewest in a full season since 2009. Regardless, the 5-foot-9, 250-pounder made his third Pro Bowl at a position that's faded in importance throughout the league.
The Panthers re-signed Tolbert last March to a two-year, $3.6 million deal. His release frees up $1.73 million in cap space.
“I feel very fortunate to have coached Mike for nearly his entire career,” said coach Ron Rivera, who was with Tolbert for three seasons in San Diego. “He was someone we targeted in 2012 because we felt he would be a good addition to our offense and he was very productive for us. He brought great energy and leadership to our locker room and I wish him the best.”
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The Panthers are also expected to release defensive tackle Paul Soliai, according to his agent.
The former Falcon signed a two-year, $6.5 million deal with $3 million guaranteed last spring.
Soliai, finished with eight tackles after rotating on and off the inactive list with Kyle Love during the final two months of the season.
The Panthers will save $2.5 million toward the cap by releasing Soliai, but they'll also have to swallow $1.0 million in dead money.