4 realistic free agents for the Panthers to target in 2021

(Steve Roberts-USA TODAY Sports) Jonnu Smith
(Steve Roberts-USA TODAY Sports) Jonnu Smith /
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Teddy Bridgewater
(Jim Dedmon-USA TODAY Sports) Matt Rhule and Teddy Bridgewater /

Which free agents can the Carolina Panthers realistically look to acquire in 2021 as they look to boost their chances of a playoff return?

The Carolina Panthers will need to be shrewd with what little money they have available this offseason. Things were set to get better in 2021 after the dead-cap problems that restricted them last year, but with COVID-19 revenue losses across the league resulting in the salary-cap coming down, it has thrown a spanner in their plans for progression in the coming months.

This is nothing new to the Panthers, who will have expected this to occur from the moment limited fans were made available for attendance at most games. Getting through the campaign unscathed for the all-important TV money was priority No. 1 for the NFL and despite the odd setback here and there, it’s something they managed to do well.

What comes next Carolina will be crucial.

Some big decisions await the Carolina Panthers.

The decision-makers appear to be leaving no stone unturned in their pursuit of a better option at quarterback after Teddy Bridgewater‘s disappointing start to life with the Panthers. So who the team ends up with is going to tell us plenty about what we can expect next season and possibly beyond.

Carolina has 25 players currently out of contract this spring. Many others will also be nervously looking over their shoulders ahead of some big decisions this spring.

Some salary-cap casualties are inevitable. But whether this comes with a downturn in fortunes remains to be seen.

With that in mind, let’s take a look at four realistic free-agent targets that could improve the Panthers when competitive action rolls around in 2021.

Target No. 1

Carolina Panthers
(Billy Hardiman-USA TODAY Sports) Haason Reddick /

Haason Reddick – OLB

  • 2020 team – Arizona Cardinals

Linking up with his former college coach Matt Rhule is something that Haason Reddick would no doubt consider if presented with the opportunity. The outside linebacker enjoyed the finest season of his career in 2020 and the Carolina Panthers could do with another body capable of getting after opposing quarterbacks consistently.

Reddick is more than capable of this. The former Temple star and 2017 first-round pick notched 12.5 sacks, 16 quarterback hits, and 34 pressures from 11 starts this season, which brought an eye-catching 72.8 grade from Pro Football Focus as a result of his efforts.

The Panthers will not be alone if they decide to take a good look at Reddick. But the player’s previous relationship with Rhule could make all the difference.