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Panthers cut starting cornerback less than a week after Julio Jones racked up 300 yards

Bene Benwikere was the main victim of Julio Jones during a 300-yard game for the Falcons receiver.

NFL: Carolina Panthers at Atlanta Falcons Jason Getz-USA TODAY Sports

Bene Benwikere wasn’t the only Carolina Panthers defensive back torched by Atlanta Falcons wide receiver Julio Jones on Sunday, but he’s the one without a job less than a week later as the team decided to part ways with the starter before Week 5, according to USA Today’s Tom Pelissero.

Jones finished his destruction of the Panthers with 12 receptions for 300 yards, and while Benwikere saw him the most, half of the receptions came against other Carolina defensive backs.

A fifth-round pick in the 2014 NFL Draft, Benwikere was one of the few veterans in the secondary for the Panthers. With his departure, the presumable starters on the outside will be rookies James Bradberry and Daryl Worley — Carolina’s second- and third-round selections in the 2016 NFL Draft — with veteran Robert McClain working in the slot, although Bradberry is currently sidelined with turf toe.

The other option on the roster is Teddy Williams, a former wide receiver with the Indianapolis Colts, Arizona Cardinals, Jacksonville Jaguars, and Chicago Bears.

It’s a surprising move for a Panthers secondary that is already lacking depth after allowing Josh Norman to become a free agent. The All-Pro cornerback was originally given the franchise tag by the team, but it was later rescinded, allowing Norman to sign a five-year, $75 million deal with Washington.

Norman was asked by Washington reporters about the big day for Jones against his former team.

After the poor showing against the Falcons offense, Ron Rivera told reporters that the team would open up competition at cornerback and allow others to try to win the starting job ahead of Benwikere. But given the team’s lack of depth, he admitted that everyone would contribute somehow.

“We’re working them this week and we’ll see how it pans out,” Rivera said. “But either way guys are going to play because of the nickel position.”

Instead, Benwikere is out of Carolina and only had to wait a few days before the Miami Dolphins scooped him up off waivers.

Carolina filled Benwikere’s roster spot with fifth-round rookie Zack Sanchez who began the year on the practice squad. The team may also need to bring in addition help soon to fill a thin roster at the position.

Julio Jones had a record day against the Panthers