4 big decisions ahead for Matt Rhule as final cuts loom

(Photo by Grant Halverson/Getty Images) Matt Rhule
(Photo by Grant Halverson/Getty Images) Matt Rhule /
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Carolina Panthers
(Photo by Ralph Freso/Getty Images) Donte Jackson /

Carolina Panthers decision No. 2: Sorting the starting cornerback rotation

One of the areas of real concern for the Carolina Panthers in 2020 is the situation at cornerback. This is a position on their field that underwent significant changes during the offseason. But with no preseason games to develop as a unit, it is going to be a case of trial by fire for a group that has not played together before in a competitive setting.

The Panthers opted not to bring back Javien Elliott and Ross Cockrell. Previous No. 1 option James Bradberry signed a big-money deal with the New York Giants in free agency, which was something Carolina was never going to match given their current financial restrictions.

Donte Jackson is cemented as the team’s No. 1 option. But who will play alongside him on the rotation is still very much up in the air. Eli Apple has missed a considerable period of training camp through injury which has left even more uncertainty surrounding his ability to come in and immediately contribute.

Carolina’s coaching staff might be airing on the side of caution with Apple. But it is hard to deny this is not the best start to what appears to be his final chance of proving himself as a starting-caliber cornerback in the NFL.

Fourth-round pick Troy Pride Jr. has had some nice moments during camp that might come with an increased role. Another nice surprise has been the contributions made by T.J. Green and Corn Elder in recent weeks.

The Panthers are also reportedly exploring the possibility of bringing in additional help via the trade market, according to Joe Person of The Athletic. This might be another big boost for the secondary providing they find the right man.