Panthers, Steelers

Panthers Cut Boykin Under Odd Circumstances

In perhaps the most surprising roster news of this offseason, it has been announced that the Carolina Panthers have cut freshly signed cornerback Brandon Boykin. Boykin spent the 2015 season with the Steelers and looked capable despite minimal playing time. He was expected to start in the slot for a Carolina defense still reeling from the loss of All-Pro corner Josh Norman.

The news has raised many questions about Boykin’s behind-the-scenes character and commitment to football. In Pittsburgh, he had nothing but good things to say about the coaching staff, and never expressed any frustration at not being able to stay on the field. In on only 25% of Pittsburgh’s defensive snaps in 2015, Boykin managed 1 interception, 1 forced fumble and 5 passes defensed, and generally looked like a competent member of a secondary that leaked yardage all year long.

In what was then considered a steal, Pittsburgh traded a fifth-round pick to Philadelphia for Boykin. Many argued the Eagles could have held the Steelers ransom for the player, knowing their cross-state neighbors’ desperation for a quality corner. Instead, just twelve months later, the Steelers have pointlessly burned a pick, and the Eagles have turned it into TCU O-lineman Halapoulivaati Vaitai.

Now, mere weeks after signing with the Panthers, Boykin is again out of a job. Bizarrely, it is also being reported that Boykin was cut to make room for Shaquille Richardson, another former Steelers DB who has spent time on four practice squads and appeared in precisely zero games since being drafted in 2014.

Boykin took to Twitter to voice his concern – or lack thereof – tweeting, “Lol NFL does not surprise me anymore. Business is crazy. On to the next.” Again, there doesn’t seem to be any vindictiveness in the comment, perhaps suggesting that some teams simply aren’t looking for a man who can exclusively play in the slot against today’s big-play offenses.

Still only 25, expect Boykin to appear in yet another team’s colors during this year’s training camp, but rapid cuts like these are typically sure signs that your career is dwindling fast. Still, it remains curious that even teams desperate for secondary depth can’t find a place for the young talent.

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