The Carolina Panthers released Brandon Boykin on Monday, becoming the third team in just over 10 months to cut ties with him. Boykin signed with Carolina in late March after spending the 2015 season with the Pittsburgh Steelers. He was expected to be the Panthers' slot cornerback and to compete for snaps on the outside after the release of star corner Josh Norman. Instead, the Panthers sent Boykin on his way in order to create room on their roster for several players from their rookie mini-camp.
Boykin spent the first three years of his career with the Philadelphia Eagles, where he blossomed into one of the NFL's top slot cornerbacks. From 2012 through 2014, there were only 11 corners that played at least 50 percent of their team's snaps covering receivers in the slot. Boykin was second among those players to only Denver's Chris Harris in passer rating allowed.
Last summer, though, Boykin bristled about wanting to play not just in the slot, but on the outside. Just south of two months later, Chip Kelly shipped Boykin to Pittsburgh in exchange for a fifth-round pick. We praised the deal at the time, noting that Pittsburgh acquired a player with far greater talent than the cost they paid. Considering the Steelers' needs in the defensive backfield, it seemed likely that Boykin would see heavy playing time. That did not happen. He was on the field for only 24.7 percent of the Steelers' snaps on defense.
Pittsburgh did not show much interest in re-signing him once the offseason began, so he signed with Carolina on a one-year deal on March 28. Seven weeks later, he's out of a job once again. Not that he's surprised.
Lol NFL does not surprise me anymore.. Business is crazy. On to the next.— Brandon Boykin (@BrandonBoykin2) May 16, 2016
Given his track record of above-average play and the fact that he's still only 25 years old, it seems likely Boykin will get another chance somewhere at some point. But considering he's now washed out of three organizations in less than a year, there appears to be something about Boykin that's rubbing organizations the wrong way, and he'll have to rectify that wherever he lands next.