Panthers turn down Connor trade talk

ORLANDO, Fla. -- The Carolina Panthers have fielded several trade inquiries about linebacker Dan Connor this offseason, according to league sources. But the sources say the Panthers have made it clear to other teams that they’re not letting Connor go.

Although Connor has been mostly a backup and special-teams player in his first two seasons, he is expected to compete for a starting job this season. The Panthers released veteran linebackers Na'il Diggs and Landon Johnson last season.

In recent days, coach John Fox and general manager Marty Hurney specifically have mentioned Connor as a player they expect to step up this season. They also have mentioned linebacker James Anderson as another player who has a chance to earn more playing time this season.