CHARLOTTE, N.C. — The Carolina Panthers filled arguably the biggest hole on their roster Monday by acquiring three-time Pro Bowl punter Andy Lee in a trade with the Cleveland Browns.
The Panthers gave up a 2018 fourth-round pick and punter Kasey Redfern in exchange for Lee and a 2017 seventh-round pick.
“There is some depth and some truth into what he was doing,” Sherman said. “I think he could have picked a better platform and a better way to do it, but every day they say athletes are so robotic and do everything by the book. And then when somebody takes a stand like that, he gets his head chopped off.”
Oakland Raiders fullback Marcel Reece thought Kaepernick was “misunderstood” and brought up the late Muhammad Ali as an example of why critics should not be too harsh on Kaepernick’s message, even if they disagree with how he presented it.
“Muhammad Ali, who stood for so many things and was criticized for not wanting to go to [the Vietnam] war, turned into this legend and this civil rights activist and this immense figure, not only in black America but America, period,” Reece told ESPN.com on Monday. “[Kaepernick] is trying to use his platform to stand up for people who can’t necessarily stand up for themselves.
“But, at the same time, I think personally you have to have a little balance in your take on everything.”
Some Rams players made their own social statement in 2014, when the team played in St. Louis, in recognition of protests in nearby Ferguson, Missouri. Five players — Kenny Britt, Tavon Austin, Stedman Bailey, Chris Givens and Jared Cook — came out of the tunnel with the “hands up, don’t shoot” pose prior to a home game against the Oakland Raiders on Nov. 30.
Discipline was not handed out, but the St. Louis Police Officers Association called for the players to be punished and for the NFL to apologize.
Fisher felt his players were “misunderstood.”
“They wanted to direct attention to the community of Ferguson because they felt the community needed help and they were helping them,” Fisher said Sunday. “… Obviously, you have compassion for the things that are happening in society, and players have the opportunity because they have a platform. There’s a place for it, and there’s not a place for it. … To a man, if you asked each one of them if they’d do it all over again, they probably would. I thought, from an organization standpoint, we dealt with it appropriately and with compassion and concern for what was taking place in Ferguson.”
The defending NFC champions had hoped veteran Mike Scifres would fill the void left by Brad Nortman, who signed with Jacksonville in free agency. However, Scifres, the former Chargers punter, injured his kicking (right) knee in Friday’s preseason game when a New England player ran into him on his first punt of the preseason.
Lee’s current contract runs through 2018. He has a salary cap figure of $2,833,000 in 2016, $3,433,000 in 2017 and $4,134,000 in 2018.
One of the reasons the Panthers didn’t keep Nortman was they didn’t want to compete with the four-year, $8.8 million deal he received from Jacksonville. That deal has a cap number of $2.15 million in 2016.
Carolina also wanted to become more efficient at directional punting. Nortman sometimes outkicked the coverage.