Luke Kuechly tops list of most valuable LBs since 2006

Dean Jones
(Photo by Brett Carlsen/Getty Images) Luke Kuechly
(Photo by Brett Carlsen/Getty Images) Luke Kuechly /

The retirement of Luke Kuechly was some of the more disappointing Carolina Panthers news items of the offseason.

The Carolina Panthers news regarding Luke Kuechly’s retirement was a devastating blow to the franchise. The prolific linebacker called it a day after eight hugely successful seasons that saw him become one of the team’s greatest ever players.

This was the latest in a series of disappointing elements to the Panthers offseason. And one that could see their fortunes go from bad-to-worse in 2020. While this is to be expected during a period of transition, having someone like Kuechly around to provide a supreme role model to younger roster members would have been a significant asset to call upon.

His decision to retire was probably the right one. There is no financial incentive for Kuechly to keep going. And the obvious health risks that come with playing such a violent position such as inside linebacker have been there for all to see during his illustrious career.

Pro Football Focus listed the most valuable linebackers in the NFL since 2006 from some recent analysis. It came as no surprise to see Kuechly at No. 1 on the list ahead of Derrick Johnson, Patrick Willis, and Bobby Wagner.

Luke Kuechly’s impact with the Carolina Panthers

There is little debate that Kuechly deserves to be at the top of this list. The impact he made with the Panthers was nothing short of extraordinary and the organization is far worse off without him.

His inspirational leadership from the defensive second level was exemplary and further added to his overall influence on the roster. While some might feel Kuechly left the game too soon, he can look back on his accomplishments with an enormous sense of pride.

Kuechly’s impact on the Panthers will go down in folklore. Much was expected of the first-round pick out of Boston College heading into the NFL. And to say he exceeded expectations would be a considerable understatement.

What new head coach Matt Rhule would give to have Kuechly on his roster in 2020. When the Panthers news team announced his retirement, it was a crushing blow and one that might take a few years to find a worthy replacement.

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Life in the NFL doesn’t stand still for long. But the contribution Kuechly made to the Panthers will not be forgotten in a hurry.