6 free agents who could get the Panthers in playoff contention

(Robert Hanashiro-USA TODAY Sports) Anthony Harris
(Robert Hanashiro-USA TODAY Sports) Anthony Harris /
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Carolina Panthers
(Ken Blaze-USA TODAY Sports) Xavier Rhodes /

Xavier Rhodes – CB (Indianapolis Colts)

Xavier Rhodes entered the 2020 season officially in the last chance saloon. The cornerback endured a torrid final two seasons with the Minnesota Vikings before both parties decided to go their separate ways. But joining the Indianapolis Colts seems to have given the player a new lease of life.

It’s easy to forget that Rhodes was once regarded as the best shutdown corner in the NFL. His 2017 campaign was nothing short of exemplary and saw the former Florida State standout cover some of the game’s primary wide receivers with ease on his way to an All-Pro selection.

Things have trended on a downward curve after that. But his talent has come to the fore once again this season after signing a one-year deal with the Colts that seems to have been the making of him.

Rhodes has given up just 21 receptions on 48 targets on his way to two interceptions and a lofty 76.8 grade from Pro Football Focus. This is sure to earn him a multi-year deal in Indianapolis or elsewhere in 2021 and the Carolina Panthers could definitely use a corner that can lock-up in man coverage efficiently moving forward.

This is something they’ve had real difficulty with this season, which is down in no small part to Donte Jackson’s troublesome toe problem. Whether Rhodes would want to move on again after just one year in a new environment is up for debate, but if he continues this sort of production next season and beyond it would be a real asset.