Panthers' Matt Kalil Released After Missing 2018 Season with Knee Injury

Joseph Zucker@@JosephZuckerFeatured ColumnistMarch 14, 2019

Carolina Panthers' Matt Kalil (75) makes his way onto the field during introductions before an NFL football game against the Minnesota Vikings in Charlotte, N.C., Sunday, Dec. 10, 2017. The Panthers won 31-24. (AP Photo/Bob Leverone)
Bob Leverone/Associated Press

The Carolina Panthers released veteran offensive tackle Matt Kalil, the team announced.

NFL Network's Ian Rapoport noted that Kalil's $7 million base salary would've become fully guaranteed Friday. According to the Charlotte Observer's Jourdan Rodrigue, the Panthers designated Kalil as a post-June 1 cut, which spreads out his dead money over the next two years. 

He'll count for $4.9 million in 2019 and $9.8 million in 2020, while Carolina saves $7.25 million for next season, per Over the Cap.

Kalil missed the entire 2018 season with a right knee injury. He had undergone arthroscopic surgery on the same knee last August.

The 29-year-old told reporters in December the year "didn't pan out like I wanted to" and that he understood he might not be back with the Panthers in 2019.

Carolina signed Kalil to a five-year, $55.5 million deal in 2017, a move that left many fans scratching their heads. The team clearly needed to upgrade its offensive line but went well above Kalil's perceived market value.

The 2012 No. 4 overall pick had one Pro Bowl appearance in five years with the Minnesota Vikings, and he missed all but two games in 2016 after suffering a hip injury. He later said the effects from his hip surgery lingered well after his return to the field in 2017.

Despite Kalil's injury history and solid yet unspectacular track record, the Panthers gave him $31 million guaranteed. At the time, it was the sixth-highest total for an offensive tackle, per Spotrac.

Along with his burdensome contract, the offensive line's performance in 2018 likely sealed Kalil's fate. Despite his absence, Carolina was 11th in adjusted line yards and 10th in adjusted sack rate, per Football Outsiders. The team was 25th and 19th, respectively, in those two categories in 2017.

Taylor Moton was solid at right tackle with Daryl Williams out injured, and he's the likely candidate to open as the starting left tackle in 2019 with Williams back healthy. The Panthers confirmed Thursday that Williams signed a one-year deal.

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