Panthers shake up offensive line

The Carolina Panthers pulled a bit of a surprise Thursday when they released Geoff Hangartner, who had worked with the first-team offensive line at two different positions this training camp.

Hangartner had been working mostly at right guard, but worked with the first team at center Tuesday when Ryan Kalil was given the day off. Hangartner split last season between guard and center.

But Hangartner didn’t have a great 2012 season. I’m thinking the Panthers didn’t see much improvement early in camp and decided to part ways with a guy that was scheduled to count $1.5 million against the cap.

The Panthers did meet with veteran lineman Travelle Wharton last week, but have yet to sign him. It seems more likely the Panthers are content to go with what they already have on the roster.

Garry Williams and Jeff Byers are both versatile linemen and can play guard. This move could be a sign that rookie Edmund Kugbila is close to being healthy after missing most of the offseason program and the early part of training camp with injuries. It seems like the Panthers have high hopes for Kugbila. Even in the June minicamp, a limited Kugbila was getting some reps with the first team as the Panthers walked through their plays.