Rumor: Carolina Panthers looking to add LB before trade deadline

(Jeremy Brevard-USA TODAY Sports) Marty Hurney
(Jeremy Brevard-USA TODAY Sports) Marty Hurney /

The Carolina Panthers could be looking at LB help before the trade deadline.

It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out that the Carolina Panthers are struggling at linebacker this season. They lost the services of perennial All-Pro Luke Kuechly to a shock retirement during the offseason and of all the veteran departures, this is being felt most in no uncertain terms.

The Carolina Panthers do have a star on their hands in Jeremy Chinn. They made a bold move by trading back into the second round to take the former Southern Illinois standout and the level of impact he’s made through the first half of the 2020 season has been nothing short of extraordinary.

If only the Panthers could say the same about Tahir Whitehead.

The free-agent acquisition has struggled significantly to make his presence felt and is currently ranked as one of the NFL’s worst-performing players by Pro Football Focus with a dismal grade of 29.2.

Shaq Thompson is another who should be doing better. The outside linebacker’s flaws have been there for all to see without Kuechly covering his tracks and there is plenty of work to do for the player if he wants to stay around for the substantial payrise coming his way in 2021.

La Canfora suggests Carolina Panthers are making a potential move.

The Panthers might be looking for additional reinforcements in this area. According to Jason La Canfora of CBS Sports, Carolina has been calling teams looking for a potential recruit at the middle linebacker spot to help them during the second half of the campaign.

This would undoubtedly be welcome. But whether the Panthers have left it too late to get someone in who can make a difference remains to be seen. The Steelers picked up a nice option in Avery Williamson from the Jets in exchange for a fifth-round pick, who could have been a big help to Carolina providing the player can rid himself of injury problems.

Giving up valuable draft capital doesn’t appear to be the smart way to go. There are plenty of exciting prospects at the position coming out of the college system next year and given Carolina’s lack of expectations this season, they might be better off riding out the storm with Whitehead and Adarius Taylor for a better long-term solution next spring.

That being said, this is a situation worth monitoring closely ahead of tomorrow’s deadline.

There could be some player movement with financial implications surrounding COVID-19 losses remaining a concern and struggling teams might be looking to offload some expendable individuals to gain additional draft capital.

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Getting someone in at this stage would be a risk, especially seen as things might get worse before they getter in Carolina. But any trade might also reinvigorate a defense that has shown signs of life in recent weeks.