3 free-agent linebackers the Panthers could sign post-draft

Dean Jones
(Photo by Adam Bettcher/Getty Images) Nigel Bradham
(Photo by Adam Bettcher/Getty Images) Nigel Bradham /
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Vontaze Burfict, Carolina Panthers
(Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images) Vontaze Burfict /

The Carolina Panthers did not draft a linebacker in the 2020 NFL Draft, but what free agents are still available that could help the franchise.

Losing legendary linebacker Luke Kuechly to retirement was a severe blow to the Carolina Panthers this offseason. The influential figure will leave a gaping hole both on defense and within the locker room after calling a day on his exceptional eight-year career.

He would have been a tremendous asset for new head coach Matt Rhule to call upon in the locker room to guide a host of fresh faces and talented rookies. The franchise will be worse off in Kuechly’s absence. But there is still hope he can make a return in a coaching capacity sometime in the future.

Not selecting a linebacker in the draft is a huge vote of confidence for Tahir Whitehead, who arrived in free agency from the Las Vegas Raiders on a one-year deal worth $2.5 million. They did sign five undrafted free agent linebackers once all picks were submitted, so one or two could add depth if they impress during training camp.

Another route the Panthers could go down is with a veteran free agent on a short-term deal to work with Whitehead in a rotational role. Having another experienced presence would be beneficial on a defense that is now littered with young, hungry faces after their historic draft.

Options are normally limited this time of year once the top-end talents have been purged by teams across the league. But there could still be some value to be found if Carolina’s decision-makers choose to go in this particular direction.

Here are three linebackers worth considering for the Panthers in 2020.