Carolina Panthers balance sheet: Defense in the red after offseason moves

Dean Jones
(Photo by Todd Kirkland/Getty Images) Donte Jackson
(Photo by Todd Kirkland/Getty Images) Donte Jackson /
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Luke Kuechly, Carolina Panthers
(Photo by G Fiume/Getty Images) Luke Kuechly /

Carolina Panthers balance sheet: The major defensive departures

It’s hard to comprehend just what the Carolina Panthers will look like without Luke Kuechly on the field. However, this is something everyone associated with the franchise will have to get used to after the legendary linebacker called it a day after eight glittering seasons.

Kuechly has returned in a scouting capacity. But this does not detract from what a body blow it is not to have him on the field. This would be even more beneficial with such a young group going into the campaign.

The Panthers also lost No. 1 cornerback James Bradberry when he penned a big-money deal with the New York Giants in free agency. This is something that Carolina was unable to match. And it remains to be seen just how much of a loss he is going to be.

Related Story. How much will the Carolina Panthers miss James Bradberry in 2020?. light

If others do not step up and fill the void, then the Panthers might regret letting the talented cornerback go. They also chose not to extend Ross Cockrell and Javien Elliot. So this is an area of the field that is going to be pivotal with some much change within the ranks.

Their defensive front also has a brand-new feel to it after the Panthers parted ways with some experienced figures. The likes of Bruce Irvin and Mario Addison remained consistent during a season of difficulty from their defense overall. And they will surely thrive in a new environment on teams with a better chance of contending.

Gerald McCoy, Vernon Butler, and Dontari Poe were also shipped out, which was the correct decision. All three looked lethargic and well past the peak of their powers in 2019. So a fresh start might be best for all parties.

Veteran safety Eric Reid was also shipped out just one year into his extension. This was possibly the most surprising move given the player’s level of production last season.