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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Carolina Panthers
(Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports) Jonnu Smith /

Jonnu Smith – TE

  • 2020 team – Tennessee Titans

The Carolina Panthers are in desperate need of an upgrade at their tight end position. Replicating the production of Greg Olsen was a daunting task that Ian Thomas just didn’t seem ready for and not having a reliable presence across the middle really hurt them during the 2020 season.

This should be one of Carolina’s top priorities this offseason. They could be set to lose wide receiver Curtis Samuel to a big offer from elsewhere in free agency and taking away yet another reliable passing game presence that can move the chains has the potential to do more harm than good.

Bringing in someone like Jonnu Smith would be a smart move by the front office. He has come on leaps and bounds over the last couple of years and although the Tennessee Titans would probably like to keep him around, the promise of plenty of targets coming his way in Carolina might be an enticing prospect.

Smith has never eclipsed 500 receiving yards during his career. But he is playing in a run-first offense led by Derrick Henry and could easily get better numbers playing in a system that utilizes his skillset more efficiently.

While the Panthers are still heavily dependent on Christian McCaffrey, given the running back’s injury problems this season it would be wise not to put too much in the way of pressure on his shoulders and get more weapons to boost the passing game.