Carolina Panthers: Top 5 priorities for contract extensions in 2021

Dean Jones
(Photo by Tim Warner/Getty Images) Taylor Moton
(Photo by Tim Warner/Getty Images) Taylor Moton /
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Matt Rhule, Carolina Panthers
(Photo by Michael Hickey/Getty Images) Matt Rhule /

What free-agent members of the Carolina Panthers roster need to be prioritized before all others?

The Carolina Panthers have plenty of players who have their contracts up for renewal in 2021. This is down in no small part to their salary cap predicament this offseason, which has left the franchise with no other option other than to hand out short-term deals to players.

It has also restricted the Carolina Panthers from offering players on the penultimate year of their deals a longer-term commitment. This is a situation that will change considerably next year. And the organization could have as much as $90 million to utilize if they make the necessary cuts.

New head coach Matt Rhule will find out plenty about what sort of characters he is working with over the next few months. The Panthers have gutted their roster and although this might have been for the greater good. It has made their expectations in 2020 lower than they’ve been in some time.

That is to be expected during the first year of a rebuild. But Rhule has a fantastic reputation of transforming struggling programs in college and Carolina put a significant amount of faith in him to deliver at the next level.

As is normally the case during the spring, the organization will prioritize just what players should get paid before others. That is why it is a pivotal campaign for those either entering their final season or working on a short-term contract.

How the Panthers allocated their funds is going to be crucial for their long-term aspirations. They are expected to be more prominent players on the free-agent market. And the decision-makers might have another high-end NFL Draft pick in 2021.

We ranked the top five players that the Panthers should give contracts to first next year.