The 31 year old offensive tackle enters 2017 on more unstable footing than any Panther on the 2017 roster. Oher still reeling from a concussion he suffered in the 2016 season not only sits on the fence waiting for doctors to let him know if he can continue his NFL career.
He also awaits a trial date in Nashville, TN on accusations of assault of an Uber driver on July 21st. Oher was cited for allegedly pushing and kicking an Uber driver in the early morning of April 14th. The police report states Oher had been drinking.
As you can read below in a report by Joe Person of the Charlotte Observer.
Oher, who has not been with the team during organized team activities this spring, is set to appear before a Davidson County (Tenn.) judge on July 21, according to an official with the district attorney’s office.
Panthers GM Dave Gettleman, and Head Coach Ron Rivera have played Oher’s situation close to the chest. Revealing as little as possible on the status of the injured offensive tackle.
Reportedly Oher was finally back in Charlotte for the first time in the 2017 off-season for Mini Camp, but remained out of sight from reporters during that time.
As for Oher’s future in Charlotte, it seems likely that the offensive tackle is on his way out the door. This would be both in the best interest of Oher’s future health, and the team.
On top of the injury, and personal issues Oher is facing. After the Panthers signed Matt Kalil to a deal much larger than Oher’s recent extension this off-season. It apparently, “did not sit well with Oher”.
As reported by Joe Person of the Charlotte Observer which you can read below.
Oher signed an extension in 2016 to stay with the Panthers for a tune of $21.6 million. Counting currently towards $5,500,000 million against their cap in 2017, and $7,300,000 million in 2018.
While there are more important things to consider when talking about Oher than the financial aspect. Like Oher’s long term health which should be the number one priority above all. You cannot exclude the financial aspect of it either.
Regardless of the injury or the run in with the law. With Carolina’s recent signing of Matt Kalil, and the drafting of Taylor Moton, Oher’s days in Carolina as a starter appeared to be numbered.
Especially at the cap number he currently sits at. While in 2017 if healthy Oher could provide depth to the left side at offensive tackle behind Matt Kalil, or he could possibly start the season on the right side of the line. The eventual outcome of his future in Carolina appeared to be written on the wall after the Draft.
Putting Oher back on the field in a Panthers uniform is not only risky for the team, but for Oher’s immediate future. So while this decision will likely come in 2017. The ramifications of his probable release will be felt in the 2018 off-season financially.
If the Panthers decided to move on from Oher in 2017 they could add $4,500,000 million back to the cap in 2017 and $5,300,000 million to it in 2018. Which would help in re-signing a lot of the talent they have on the docket for 2018. Especially if they find a way to roll over that $4.5 million with what they currently have in 2017.
If Oher by some miracle remained on the roster in 2017 then Gettleman would have to decide if he should cut Oher or restructure his deal in 2018. Which based on recent moves and his salary cap number, a release seems like an inevitable fate for the veteran offensive tackle either this year or next.