Roster Restocking: Dortch Out, Davis In

Scott Hamilton

The Carolina Panthers continue to fiddle with their roster, this time choosing backfield depth over a return specialist. Carolina has also brought in back-up at cornerback.

In a move likely initiated to give Christian McCaffrey an occasional breather, Carolina claimed running back Mike Davis off of waivers from the Chicago Bears. Davis was with the Bears less than a full season. His tenure in Chicago followed two seasons with the 49ers and then two seasons with the Seattle Seahawks.

The Panthers also reacquired cornerback Corn Elder off of the New York Giants practice squad, space created by waiving guard Bryan Witzmann.

Davis left after his junior season at South Carolina to become a fourth-round draft choice of San Francisco in the 2015 NFL Draft. He spent the first two seasons of his career with San Francisco (2015-16) before playing two seasons with the Seattle Seahawks (2017-18).

Davis, who was a second-team All-SEC selection while with the Gamecocks, comes to Carolina only a year removed from his best season in the NFL.

He set career-high last year with Seattle in rushing yards (514), rushing touchdowns (four), receptions (34), receiving yards (214) and receiving touchdowns (one).

But he saw limited action with Chicago after signing a two-year, $6 million deal during the offseason. Davis had only 47 yards on 11 carries spread out over seven games while with the Bears.

Davis should provide depth to a backfield that has essentially seen only production from McCaffrey. 

Of the 642 snaps taken by Carolina running backs this season, 507 have been accounted for by McCaffrey. And the third-year pro has taken every offensive snap in a game four times this season, including the Panthers' loss at Green Bay. His 233 total touches are the second-most in the NFL this season.

 McCaffrey has also accounted for 11 or 14 rushing touchdowns this season with fellow running backs Alex Armah and Reggie Bonnafon each scoring one. Curtis Samuel, a wide receiver, has the team's remaining rushing touchdown. 

Carolina created a spot for Davis by waiving rookie wide receiver / return specialist Greg Dortch.

An all-American at Wake Forest, Carolina signed Dortch off the New York Jets practice squad last month. He was on the roster for 3 games, and was active during the Panthers' win over the Tennessee Titans. Dortch returned two kicks for a total of 52 yards and had a pair of punt returns for 11 yards. 

DeAndrew White returned kicks during Carolina's loss at Green Bay, while D.J. Moore handled punt returns.

Elder is no stranger to Carolina. 

He was drafted by the Panthers in 2017 and spent two seasons with the Panthers before being waived before this season. He was on the New York Giants practice squad prior to Tuesday.

Witzmann was a late-September pickup by Carolina. He played in two games.

Two rookie offensive tackles -- Garrett McGhin from East Carolina and Aaron Monteiro from Boston College -- were signed to the practice squad. Another rookie tackle -- Matt Kaskey from Darmouth -- was released from the practice squad.

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