There were few surprises among the 21 players the Panthers waived Friday in the final round of roster cuts.
The most interesting development involved one of the players they kept.
Receiver Armanti Edwards, who did not catch a pass his first two seasons, survived the cuts to make the Panthers’ 53-man roster for the third consecutive year.
Edwards, the former Appalachian State quarterback-turned-wideout, was thought to be on shaky ground when the Panthers drafted Joe Adams to return punts, a role Edwards held last season.
But Edwards turned in his strongest preseason and took advantage of injuries and inconsistent play by a couple of his competitors to win one of the six receiving spots. Edwards caught five passes for 69 yards during the exhibition schedule, including two receptions Thursday at Pittsburgh.
At press time Friday night, the Panthers had released only a partial list of their cuts. The list included three former Chargers who followed Ron Rivera from San Diego to Charlotte last year: wideout Seyi Ajirotutu, linebacker/special teams player Kion Wilson and defensive tackle Ogemdi Nwagbuo.
The rest of the early cuts were: cornerback Darius Butler, a former second-round pick of New England; undrafted receiver Jared Green, son of Hall of Famer Darrell Green; undrafted running back Tauren Poole; linebacker David Nixon; offensive lineman Matt Reynolds; cornerback R.J. Stanford and defensive lineman Ryan Van Bergen.
The Panthers announced Friday they had traded an undisclosed draft pick to San Francisco for second-year safety Colin Jones, who has a strong special teams background. They have 12 more moves to make to get to the 53-man limit.
Edwards said this week his route-running, pass-catching ability and understanding of the offense have improved since the Panthers traded a second-round pick to move up and draft him in the third round in 2010.
Edwards knew he was on the bubble for one of the last roster spots, but said he couldn’t worry about the other receivers. One spot opened when third-year wideout David Gettis was placed on the physically unable to perform list with a hamstring issue.
Ajirotutu, who has more special teams experience than Edwards, was cut after struggling to hang on to the ball throughout the preseason. Ajirotutu sparingly against the Steelers and dropped the only pass thrown to him.
“I wish I had gotten more plays but I really didn’t,” Ajirotutu said after the game. “I got more on special teams. I felt like I did well on special teams. We’ll see what the coaches decide. I’d love to be here. I’d love to play. It’s going to be a tough 24 hours.”
The Panthers opted to keep all three quarterbacks, maintaining what Rivera believes is a good energy in the quarterbacks meeting room. Jimmy Clausen, inactive for every game last year, will be the No. 3 quarterback behind Cam Newton and Derek Anderson.