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Carolina Panthers release Kurt Coleman, Charles Johnson

By The Sports Xchange
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Carolina Panthers release Kurt Coleman, Charles Johnson
Carolina Panthers safety Kurt Coleman (20) intercepts an Arizona Cardinals pass in the second half of the NFC Championship Game on January 24, 2016 at Bank of America Stadium in Charlotte, North Carolina. File photo by Brian Westerholt/UPI | License Photo

Veteran safety Kurt Coleman and defensive end Charles Johnson were released by the Carolina Panthers on Monday in a pair of cost-cutting moves.

Coleman, 29, recorded 76 solo tackles and three passes defensed during 12 games last season in his third campaign for the Panthers. According to Pro Football Focus, he was ranked as the 76th-best safety in the NFL.

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By releasing him, the Panthers can save $5.25 million on their salary cap heading into free agency, which begins March 14.

Coleman initially joined the Panthers on a two-year contract in March 2015. After recording 90 tackles and seven interceptions in 2015, Coleman inked a three-year extension in 2016 and helped the Panthers advance to the Super Bowl.

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In 2016, Coleman recorded 95 tackles and four interceptions in 15 games but last season he missed four games with a sprained MCL in his left knee. After returning on Oct. 29, Coleman made 35 tackles in his final eight games and one tackle in Carolina's 31-26 loss at New Orleans in the wildcard game.

Since entering the league as a seventh-round pick in 2010 by the Philadelphia Eagles, Coleman has recorded 346 tackles and 21 interceptions in 116 regular-season games for Philadelphia, Kansas City and Carolina.

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Johnson, 31, battled back problems and a four-game PED suspension last season after signing a two-year, $9.5 million extension in March. He also did not play in the playoff loss to New Orleans.

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Despite Johnson's injuries and previous suspension, he is one of the most productive players in team history. His 67.5 career sacks are second in team history behind Julius Peppers, whom the team hopes to bring back.

Johnson recorded at least 8.5 sacks in five straight seasons from 2010 to 2014. In the last three seasons, he recorded five sacks in 34 games.

Since entering the league as a third-round pick out of Georgia in 2007, Johnson has 228 tackles in 143 regular-season games.

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