The Carolina Panthers didn’t have much going for them in 2021, finishing the year 5-12 and dead last in the NFC South.
Sportsbooks aren’t too optimistic on the future of the team either, giving them +450 odds to win the division and much longer +5000 odds to win the Super Bowl. The team as a whole was a mess a season ago and will need to plug a lot of holes in the draft and free agency.
Here are some veteran players that are projected to hit the open market the Panthers can target this offseason.
Carolina Panthers free agency preview
Positional needs: QB, offensive line, WR
Basically anywhere you look on the roster, there’s an upgrade to be made, particularly on offense. The Sam Darnold experiment didn’t work out and even if it did end up ok, the offensive line can’t protect anybody that drops back under center. They need some people to throw the ball to as well, with only one pass-catcher earning over 600 yards last season.
Players to target
Jameis Winston, QB
The free agent market at quarterback isn’t incredible, and Winston has shown throughout his career he’s not a particularly predictable or safe QB. Still, he’s a major upgrade over Darnold even with his past interception issues. But before tearing his ACL last season, he played extremely well for the Saints through their first seven contests, so his one year sitting behind Drew Brees in 2020 may have made him an entirely different QB.
Marquez Valdes-Scantling, WR
Outside of DJ Moore, the Panthers pass-catchers didn’t do a ton a year ago. Robby Anderson has the ability to make big plays from time to time, but he ended the season with just over 500 yards and played in all 17 games. That’s barely 30 yards per game. MVS is a true speedster who had a far more talented stable of WRs around him and was still able to put up similar numbers to Anderson. MVS, Moore and Anderson together on the field could be a solid triple threat for whoever is throwing them the football.
Connor Williams, G
The offensive line might be the unit in most desperate need of an upgrade in Carolina. Williams is coming off a solid season in Dallas. While he was good, he wasn’t as incredible as some other free agent OL hitting the market, so he should provide an automatic upgrade without breaking the bank.