Posted by Will Brinson
There's an argument to be made that last season, the Panthers loss of road-grading right tackle Jeff Otah was bigger than their deficiency at quarterback. We'll see the real validity of that argument starting Sunday against the Redskins, as Otah's season is now over, with the Panthers placing the offensive lineman on injured reserve.
Per our Panthers Rapid Reporter Steve Reed, the Panthers signed guard Reggie Wells (formerly of the Eagles and Cardinals) to take Otah's roster spot. Undrafted rookie Byron Bell, a favorite of the new coaching staff, will take Otah's starting right tackle spot.
"[Otah has] worked hard. He's just never been able to get over the hump," Panthers GM Marty Hurney said, per the Charlotte Observer. "Then he's had concurrent issues. He's been listed as questionable the last two weeks with a back injury.
"We met with Jeff over the last couple of days and decided that the best thing to do was to put him on IR so he could concentrate on strengthening the knee and essentially taking an 11-week loss for long-term, future gain."
That's the same logic that the Panthers took in 2010, when it was clear that they weren't winning many games and Otah lost the entire season due to an injury he suffered in 2009 against the Patriots.
He's now played just four games in the last two seasons and the Panthers have to wonder about his long-term health, especially given his size (6'6", 330 pounds).
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