Update (3:19 p.m. ET) - The Panthers have officially announced the release of Shepard.
Earlier today, news broke that the Panthers had asked Russell Shepard to take a pay cut, but he wasn’t too interested in the idea. Unsurprisingly, the veteran wide out asked for and was granted his release from the team, as reported by Joe Person.
Marty Hurney's makeover of Panthers' WR group continued Monday with Russell Shepard asking for his release.https://t.co/HJJhf9Moyc— Joe Person (@josephperson) May 14, 2018
The move has seemed imminent for weeks now. The acquisitions of veterans Torrey Smith and Jarius Wright coupled with the drafting of DJ Moore made Shepard the likely odd man out. His release also frees up some cap space for the Panthers, as Person notes below.
Shepard's release will save the Panthers a little more than $2.1M vs. salary cap. As it happens, that's essentially what they'll need for D.J. Moore this year.— Joe Person (@josephperson) May 14, 2018
This move shouldn’t really move the needle for the Panthers. Shepard had a massively disappointing 2017 season after promising reports of his rapport with Cam Newton in camp. Marty Hurney 2.0 clearly never had much interest in letting Shepard give it a second go as shown by all the effort he put into upgrading the receiving corps this offseason.
Also, fortunately for the Panthers, his release doesn’t affect the comp pick formula in any way.