Carolina Panthers: 3 free-agent running backs to consider post-draft

Dean Jones
(Photo by Wesley Hitt/Getty Images) Carlos Hyde
(Photo by Wesley Hitt/Getty Images) Carlos Hyde /
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Devonta Freeman, Carolina Panthers
(Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images) Devonta Freeman /

Carolina Panthers option No. 1: Devonta Freeman

It is clear the Atlanta Falcons were desperate to part ways with Devonta Freeman. They took a $6 million salary-cap hit to avoid paying him $6.5 million in 2020.

Although he is clearly regressed last season, he represents an intriguing option for the Carolina Panthers as a rotational back that can take some of the pressure off Christian McCaffrey in short-yardage situations.

A series of injuries have taken away some of Freeman’s explosiveness. But in addition to his ability to gain yards between the tackles, the player is also a superb asset catching the ball out of the backfield.

This double-threat approach is something the Panthers utilize heavily. If McCaffrey were to go down with an injury, Freeman could fill in with virtually the same sort of playbook at the team’s disposal.

The former fourth-round pick out of Florida State has gone over 1,000 yards rushing twice in his career and gained 656 on the ground in 2019 from 184 carries. Given how much he is still going to make from the Falcons in 2020, it could be a financially viable option for the Panthers.

This would be welcome as they have plenty of cap constraints of their own, so if the Panthers choose to go down this particular route then Freeman should be high on their shortlist.