CHARLOTTE – The Panthers have placed tight end Chris Manhertz on injured reserve, replacing him on the 53-man roster with offensive tackle Blaine Clausell.
Manhertz, who played in all 16 regular season games and caught two passes for 17 yards, has a high ankle sprain that would have sidelined him for the playoffs.
Clausell, who has been on Carolina's practice squad all season, signed a contract through the 2019 season. The 6-foot6, 330-pounder was a four-year starter at Mississippi State who was an undrafted rookie in 2015. He spent time on the Patriots' and Ravens' practice squads before being inactive for three games of 2016 with Washington. He joined the Panthers' practice squad for the final three games of 2016.
The Panthers filled Clausell's spot on the practice squad with guard Dorian Johnson, a 2017 fourth-round draft pick by the Cardinals who was an All-American at the University of Pittsburgh. Johnson was released from the Texans' practice squad last week.
The Panthers also announced their first "future" signing of the offseason by adding cornerback Lorenzo Doss. A fifth-round pick by the Broncos in 2015 out of Tulane, Doss played in 15 games over three seasons in Denver and earned a Super Bowl ring at the end of his rookie season (he was inactive for Super Bowl 50). Doss was waived by the Broncos around Thanksgiving and spent a month on the Bills' practice squad before being released last week.
Doss' deal is referred to as "future" contracts because even though the player has signed, he does not officially become a member of the roster until the beginning of the new league year on March 14.
Future contracts essentially allow teams to sign players for the upcoming season even though the new season has not begun yet. Only players who are not on an NFL team's 53-man active roster at the conclusion of the regular season are eligible for these contracts.