The Panthers cannot seem to catch a break these days.
The Panthers announced they placed 3-time Pro Bowl LB Jon Beason on injured reserve with knee and shoulder issues.
Beason, 27, will have surgery to repair cartilage damage in his right knee and a torn labrum in his left shoulder.
Beason has only played in 5 games since receiving a 5-year, $51.5 million contract extension in 2011 that included $25 million in guaranteed money. He missed 15 games last year with a torn Achilles in his left leg.
The Panthers claimed cornerback James Dockery off waivers from Cleveland Browns to replace Beason on the 53-man roster. Dockery joined the Panthers at practice Wednesday.
These are tough times for the Carolina Panthers. In the past 2 weeks, they have lost center Ryan Kalil, cornerback Chris Gamble and Beason to season-ending injuries and GM Marty Hurney was fired. Adding to the frustration, they have lost 4 games in a row and have the worst record in the NFC at 1-5.
The move doesn’t come as something of a surprise as Beason has missed the last 2 games with injuries and Rivera hinted he would be headed to IR.
Coach Ron Rivera said Luke Kuechly, the team’s 1st-round draft pick, may continue to fill in at middle linebacker.
Kuechly started the season at week side LB, but moved to middle linebacker the last 2 games with Beason out. Kuechly has 26 tackles in his first 2 starts in the middle together with an interception and a fumble recovery.
”To me I’ve learned that Luke is better fitted as a middle linebacker,” Rivera said. ”He has the skill. He can play outside too but he has a natural feel and some natural leadership instincts so far as being in the middle. That is potentially the best spot for him.”
What that suggests for Beason’s long-term career in Carolina remains to be seen.
Like Kuechly, Beason also would rather play middle linebacker. Football spreads
If the Carolina Panthers were to release Beason this offseason, they’d be on the hook for $15 million against the income cap, the remaining piece of his signing bonus.
Rivera announced Beason originally sprained his knee in Week 3 loss to the New York Giants and tried to play through it.
”It appeared to bother him more and more and when he got the initial MRI one of the ideas was to rest it and see how it was,” Rivera said. ”That’s why he had the last couple of games off. It did not get any better so that the concern was it was worsening, so that the call was made to do something about it.”
Beason tore his labrum in the New Orleans game and he’s played with it since. Earlier in the week Gamble was placed on injured reserve with a torn labrum in his shoulder, too.
”He’s battled thru it the best he can,” Rivera claimed of Beason.
Kuechly stated that he has great respect for Beason and so the veteran has played a part in his early success this season.