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Panthers release James Anderson

James Anderson

Carolina Panthers outside linebacker James Anderson (50) runs onto the field before an NFL football game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in Charlotte, N.C., Sunday, Nov. 18, 2012. (AP Photo/Nell Redmond)


With all the focus on the 4 p.m. start of free agency and guys finding new jobs, the reality is many players are about to become unemployed as well.

They started that process in Carolina this morning by releasing linebacker James Anderson, according to ESPN’s Adam Schefter.

With the emergence of Luke Kuechly shuffling Jon Beason outside, along with the recovery of Thomas Davis, the Panthers were four starters deep in a three-linebacker defense.

Anderson was one of the biggest beneficiaries of the Panthers post-lockout spending spree, getting a five-year, $22 million contract despite never being more than an average player. He was due to make $2.9 million this year. That’s the kind of overspending, as much heat as they take for running backs, that has the Panthers in a bad salary cap spot.

Anderson’s a perfectly solid player, but the kind of middle-class citizen that is going to get squeezed as teams deal with the realities of salary caps that aren’t going up at the rate they used to.