3 Panthers whose jobs are in jeopardy after 2020 NFL Draft

Dean Jones
(Photo by Justin Casterline/Getty Images) Tre Boston
(Photo by Justin Casterline/Getty Images) Tre Boston /
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Stephen Weatherly, Carolina Panthers
(Photo by Adam Bettcher/Getty Images) Stephen Weatherly /

Panthers Player No. 3: Stephen Weatherly – DE

The Carolina Panthers invested a great deal in bringing Stephen Weatherly from the Minnesota Vikings in free agency. The defensive end penned a two-year, $12 million deal with a $4 million signing bonus and $6.25 million guaranteed to prize him away from Minneapolis.

Hopefully, this can come with some substantial production on the field when competitive action gets back underway. Weatherly has performed well for the Vikings in a rotational role and could see him reach new heights with more time on the field.

If the free-agent acquisition does not pan out as expected, then there is now a replacement option in place. Hybrid edge rusher Yetur Gross-Matos fell into the Panthers’ lap at No. 38 overall and has the potential to be a real star at the next level.

He has all the physical attributes needed to make a real go of things in the NFL. The onus will be on Weatherly to rise to the challenge of having a player with significant upside below him on the depth chart.

That’s not to say Gross-Matos won’t be used at outside linebacker. But he does his best work with his hand in the dirt thanks to his exceptional explosiveness and superb hand placement.

With Brian Burns set to occupy one side of the new 4-3 defensive base in Carolina for the considerable future. It leaves Weatherly facing a do-or-die campaign with the franchise that might end up being a short-term arrangement.

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The Panthers also put a deal in place that would leave them just $2 million in dead cap money if they release Weatherly after just one season.