4 painful realities for the Carolina Panthers so far this season

(Photo by Grant Halverson/Getty Images) Teddy Bridgewater
(Photo by Grant Halverson/Getty Images) Teddy Bridgewater /
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Carolina Panthers
(Steve Flynn-USA TODAY Sports) Luke Kuechly /

Luke Kuechly is irreplaceable

Luke Kuechly‘s retirement after eight glittering seasons was a body blow to the Carolina Panthers. Despite the organization getting rid of some prominent locker room leaders in their bid to become a contender once again under the new regime, not having the perennial All-Pro marshaling the defense from the second level is something that’ll take quite some time getting used to.

We all knew the Panthers would miss Kuechly. But there is a chance his production might not ever be fully replaced.

Certainly not with the current options available.

To say things haven’t gone according to plan for free-agent signing Tahir Whitehead would be an understatement. Adarius Taylor hasn’t taken advantage of the opportunities that have come his way and Shaq Thompson’s failings are there for all to see without Kuechly alongside him.

Carolina has to come to the stark reality there will never be another Kuechly. Although he is still around the organization as a pro scout, his off the field influence pales in comparison to what he gave the Panthers on it.

It’s back to the drawing board for the decision-makers this offseason. But make no mistake, this should arguably be their top priority. Whether they explore the free-agent market for an established veteran remains to be seen. And there are plenty of exciting options available at the top-end of the 2021 NFL Draft.