CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- The Carolina Panthers made a big move to shake up their secondary.
Starting cornerback Bene' Benwikere was released by the team Friday.
Head Coach Ron Rivera said they'd been talking about Benwikere and looking at the situation. Rivera said they made the decision to release Benwikere Friday morning.
Rivera said the team doesn't necessarily need a veteran corner and they decided they wanted to go with younger players.
"We have a group of young guys we want to move forward with," Rivera said.
On Sunday, the Panthers allowed Atlanta Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan to pass for 503 yards, 300 of which went to wide receiver Julio Jones. According to Pro Football Focus, Benwikere was responsible for yielding 228 of those yards on eight of Jones' 12 receptions.
Benwikere, 25, is less than 10 months removed from a fractured fibula that ended his second NFL season in December. He had started all four games and had an interception in the season-opening loss at Denver. Rookie James Bradberry covered Jones to start Sunday's game, but stubbed a toe on the first series, forcing Benwikere to cover one of the NFL's top receivers.
James Bradberry, the Panthers' other starting cornerback, said a turf toe injury would force him to miss Monday's game at the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Carolina also promoted cornerback Zach Sanchez, a fifth-round draft pick formerly on the practice squad, to its active roster.