The #Panthers and TE Greg Olsen have agreed to part ways. End of an era for a player who has TV options, as well as football.
— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) January 30, 2020
Olsen was finally mostly healthy for the 2019 season, but he struggled to regain the form that made him one of the best tight ends in football during the middle of the 2010s. The 34-year-old still caught 52 passes for 597 yards, but he had a lesser role in Carolina's offense.
The Panthers cleared over $8 million in cap room with the move, something Olsen was very aware of in the final week of the regular season (via Darin Gantt of Pro Football Talk).
“I just think sometimes the writing’s on the wall,” Olsen said, via Joe Person of TheAthletic.com. “There hasn’t been anything officially. But I wanted to make sure if that was my last time that I made sure I told the people that I needed to how much they meant on my career, and how much I enjoyed playing with these guys and playing [for] these coaches.”
Olsen finishes his Panthers career with 524 receptions for 6,463 yards and 39 touchdowns in nine seasons. He posted three consecutive 1,000-yard campaigns between 2014 and 2016 and made the Pro Bowl in each season, but quickly succumbed to injuries. Olsen played in just 16 games combined in 2017 and 2018, and his body seemed to be taking a toll on him in the final years of his career.
Realistically, both sides probably acknowledged Olsen simply was not worth the cap hit. Regardless, he is likely to go down as one of the more revered Panthers of the last decade.
The next question is: will Olsen retire? Or does he have more in store?