A day after seeing six “active players” get selected during the XFL’s supplemental draft, the Michigan Panthers brought in the new year by releasing four players on the defensive side of the ball. The Panthers released three defensive backs which is already down Jameson Houston and Tino Ellis who are currently in the XFL (Vegas Vipers) and NFL (Miami Dolphins Practice Squad).
The beginning of the year saw a massive overhaul for the Panthers secondary. The underrated defensive unit was anchored by Tino Ellis and Jameson Houston and now return only five defensive backs from 2022 in the 2023 season. With the recent releases of Kieron Williams, Dominque Martin, and Joseph Putu it appears the Panthers are looking for more dynamic play makers in the back half of the defense. Especially a defensive unit that was last in points allowed, and last in interceptions.
The Panthers also released Adewale Adeoye of their Defensive Line. The Utah State and Spring League vet was a part of a defensive line that underwhelmed in the pass rush (7th in sacks), and also saw TJ Carter depart for the Rams. The Panthers do bring back Cavon Walker the XFL 2.0 sack leader who looks to bounce back after an average 2022. The Panthers currently are expected to return JaQuan Bailey, Walter Palmore, Vantrell McMillan, Ethan Westbrooks, Tre Williams, and Khysonn Tyson.
With the recent subtractions the Panthers have spent the offseason adding to the defensive backfield (3) and defensive line (3). The Panthers off-season signings of Garrett Marino and Breeland Speaks look to bolster a defense that lacked attitude at times, while the return of Warren Saba brings a youthful presence of player whose injury woes looks to be behind him in the upcoming season.
The Panthers roster now sits at 60 with the subtraction of the recently released four players. As the USFL off-season continues and the coveted 12/31 release date of players contract comes to the limelight look for the pre-season rosters to take a truer form for USFL teams in the coming weeks. The recent departure of 34 “rostered” players during the XFL supplemental draft now has USFL fans wondering what’s next, for the twice rebooted league moving forward.