Coming off another heartbreaking loss the Panthers made three more roster moves. The first was signing Brodarius Hamm, an Offensive Tackle who recently went undrafted out of the University of Auburn. Hamm did recently spend some time with the Ravens in their Rookie Mini-Camp but was unsigned at the conclusion of his workout. The next two moves were a bit more surprising.
The Panthers also released Orion Stewart and Shea Patterson. Stewart and Patterson were thought to heavily leaned on this season however, both find themselves off the Panthers roster. Patterson was the number one overall pick for the USFL coming out of the University of Michigan, while Stewart was the 3rd safety taken.
Patterson played in all 6 games this season with 5 starts, he threw for 947 yards, 4 TDs, 5 INTs, while rushing for 170 yards, 2 TDs, on 33 Attempts. Patterson initially was thrown into the Panthers offense and looked extremely uncomfortable. It wasn’t until recently when more RPOs were implemented into the Offense was when Patterson began to shine more. Patterson this season also didn’t have the best supporting cast around him. With his number one receiver hurt (Jeff Badet) and Quincy Adeboyejo not showing up to camp, the Panthers were behind the 8-ball when week one started.
Also, the Panthers offensive pass protection was abysmal, and Patterson was constantly throwing on the run. Add in some terribly untimely drops (I counted ten in the first three weeks, the USFL doesn’t count them) and Patterson was never really set up for success. Regardless, he showed a lot of fight throughout his whole tenure with the Panthers.
Stewart was the starting safety after Warren Saba was released due to his broken forearm. Stewart also battled injuries and was on and off the injury report. Stewart a veteran of several NFL teams and the AAF Commanders, totaled 18 tackles and 1 interception during his tenure with the Panthers. Stewart was recently named to Evan Willsmore’s week 2 All-USFL team before his eventual release.
Moving forward it appears that Josh Love (a more traditional pocket passer) will be taking the snaps for the Panthers this weekend, with Eric Barriere or Paxton Lynch becoming the back-up. Patterson has already been signed by the Breakers whose Quarterback Kyle Sloter is banged up with injuries. Stewart has yet to be signed or claimed and will be replaced Cory Rahman (a recent UDFA class of 22) and Corrrion Ballard (XFL/IFL Vet).
The Panthers may be out of the playoff hunt but I do credit Jeff Fisher for continuing to make moves and progressing the team for the future. Overall, even though it was unexpected as a Michigan Panthers fan/analyst, I appreciate Shea Patterson’s hard work for the team and wish him and Stewart the best of luck.