The Panthers are ready to take a step forward in 2021, but they need to avoid signing any of these three free agents to continue their progress.
No one expected Matt Rhule to pilot the Panthers to a playoff berth in his first season, but the expectations in Carolina will increase heading into his second campaign. The team has an intriguing young corps already, but it’s time to sprinkle more veterans into the mix.
That doesn’t mean the Panthers need to go all-in this offseason. Instead, look for Carolina to take a more measured approach in free agency. They’ll add young veterans at modest prices when they see bargains emerge on the open market. Don’t expect Rhule and the new regime to sanction many massive deals.
The key for the Panthers will be to avoid making any costly mistakes in their first big foray into free agency under new GM Scott Fitterer. Signing any of the following three players would be a costly misstep by Carolina’s front office.
3. Jadeveon Clowney
Clowney’s collegiate ties to the Carolinas might interest him in trying to revive his career with the Panthers in 2021. Signing him might be an interesting story for the franchise’s beat writers, but it’s not a move that will move the needle on the field.
The right course of action on the edge for Carolina is to double down on the youth movement they’ve already begun. Brian Burns looks like a potential star on one edge. There’s still optimism within the organization about Yetur Gross-Matos’ ability to develop in his sophomore campaign.
There’s just no reason to splash big money on a veteran like Clowney who isn’t going to help this team for years to come. The Panthers might gamble on a one-year deal with a sack artist in free agency to bolster their depth, but it shouldn’t be someone with Clowney’s price tag.