Snaps Lost: Carolina Panthers
The “Snaps Lost” series is a detailed look at the playing time void created by players that have left each team this offseason, whether they were traded, cut, left in free agency, or retired.
Because each unit plays a different number of snaps over the course of the year, we have created a “Full Time Equivalent” metric. FTE is the total number of missing snaps divided by the number of plays the team ran on that side of the ball. This is an equivalent measure of how many full-time players (100% snap count) the team would need to add on to make up for their offseason losses, even though very few players actually play a full snap count.
For example, if a team had 1,100 snaps on offense and then lost seven players who combined to play 2,200 snaps, their FTE would be 2.0 (2,200/1,100). This ensures that a team who lost a high volume of players only has a high FTE if those players racked up some significant playing time last season. FTE can only fall between zero (no players left the team) and 11 (fire everyone!) for each side of the ball.
Each team will have a ranking following their FTE, with the first-ranked team in each category (offense, defense, and total) representing the team with the smallest portion of their playing time in need of replacement.
A few caveats before getting into the good stuff:
– Suspensions and injuries that may limit 2015 snap counts are not considered.
– Biggest Losses are purely in terms of snap count, not necessarily in terms of impact.
– All snap counts are Regular Season only.
Overall FTE Lost: 3.55, 5th
FTE Lost: 1.83, 9th
Biggest Losses: Byron Bell (1033), Jason Avant (417), Fernando Velasco (407)
Summary – Carolina’s struggle to protect the recently extended Cam Newton continues with Bell moving on after his rough time in Carolina. Avant was the Panthers’ third wideout and was waived midway through his 2014 campaign after failing to top 60 yards in 10 games for the team. Velasco subbed in at both guard positions last year but was never the team’s primary option.
Replacement Plan – Michael Oher was brought in after being cut by the Titans while Bell moved on to Tennessee in a free agent swap. Jonathan Martin will compete with Oher for the left tackle job, though neither would be starting on most teams. With Jerricho Cotchery looking into the sunset of his career, Avant’s snaps will likely be occupied by a younger option, whether that’s Philly Brown or second-round pick Devin Funchess. Both Trai Turner and Andrew Norwell posted positive grades in 2014, and should they stay healthy will make the loss of Velasco a nonfactor.
FTE Lost: 1.72, 6th
Biggest Losses: Antoine Cason (690), Thomas DeCoud (683)
Summary – That 1.72 comes almost entirely from the secondary, as Carolina lost just 140 snaps from their front seven this offseason. Cason was waived late last season and is currently unsigned after a brief stint in Baltimore late last year. DeCoud was phased out of the defense in 2014 as well, tallying over 95% of his snaps in the first 11 weeks.
Replacement Plan – Both players had essentially already been replaced by Week 13 of last year. Bené Benwikere ended the regular season with five straight positive grades and should easily double his 459 snaps from last season. Another second year man, Tre Boston, outplayed his draft selection, turning in a +5.6 regular season grade on only 369 snaps. Despite a quiet free agency, the Panthers are in a good place with respect to their 2014 losses.