Carolina may trade disgruntled DT for draft picks

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) -- The Carolina Panthers were tightlipped Tuesday about defensive tackle Kris Jenkins' future with the team.

Coach John Fox and general manager Marty Hurney sidestepped questions about whether they're trying to trade the three-time Pro Bowl selection for extra picks in this weekend's NFL draft.

"We have said all along that we don't want to comment on those reports and we'd rather not comment on that situation right now," Hurney said.

When asked if Jenkins would be on the roster next week, coach John Fox replied that since Jenkins is under contract, "Odds are, yes."

But the 27-year-old Jenkins has not attended the team's optional workouts this spring, forfeiting a $175,000 bonus. Jenkins is instead working out on his own in Maryland amid speculation he could be dealt.

While Jenkins is coming off a Pro Bowl season, the Panthers have been concerned about Jenkins' weight. He was listed at 340 pounds last season and has had a history of gaining weight in the offseason.

Fox acknowledged he's had little communication with Jenkins.

"I can't say I've really talked to him, other than right at the end of the season," Fox said.

Jenkins' agent, Tony Paige, was not in his office Tuesday afternoon and didn't immediately return a phone message.

Jenkins, the Panthers' second-round pick in 2001, was widely considered one of the top defensive tackles in the league after back-to-back Pro Bowl seasons in 2002 and 2003. But Jenkins missed all but five games the next two seasons with shoulder and knee injuries and acknowledged he drank too much when he was sidelined.

Jenkins returned last season and played in every game, finishing with 53 tackles and three sacks.

After deciding not to sign big-name free agents, this weekend's draft is critical for the Panthers, who are thin at safety, linebacker, tight end and receiver. Trading Jenkins could give the Panthers much-needed extra draft picks.

A possible destination is St. Louis, which is need of help on the defensive line and struggled against the run last season.