4 possible Panthers targets who could be released ahead of time

(Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports) Zach Ertz
(Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports) Zach Ertz /
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Carolina Panthers
(Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports) Matt Rhule /

Which players might interest the Carolina Panthers if they’re released from their respective teams ahead of time this offseason?

Things might be looking for the Carolina Panthers on the salary-cap front. DeMaurice Smith, who is the executive director of the NFL Players’ Association, recently stated that he expects the cap to be north of the $175 million predicted, with financial resources available coming down considerably due to COVID-19 revenue losses. This would be welcome news for almost every team across the league and any additional money available could be the difference between success and failure.

Spotrac now projects the Carolina Panthers to have around $17.86 million in cap space heading into the offseason. This could be up to or more than $50 million if the necessary cuts are made and would allow them to be bigger players in the free-agent market if this scenario comes to fruition.

It’s hard to gauge just what a boost this would be. The Panthers made an encouraging start to life under Matt Rhule and if they can get the right sort of recruits into the franchise this spring it could see them enter the playoff picture in 2021.

Carolina Panthers could use some veterans.

The Panthers have some exciting young players from which to build around. This brought some naivety last time around – which was to be expected. But adding some proven veteran pieces to go alongside their latest batch of college recruits would only help and there might be some enticing players who might be moved on quickly to save teams some additional cash in the most uncertain of climates.

With that in mind, let’s take a look at four possible Panthers targets who could be released from their deals ahead of time in the coming weeks.

All financial projections are according to Spotrac.

Player No. 1

Carolina Panthers
(Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports) David DeCastro /

David DeCastro – OG

  • 2020 team – Pittsburgh Steelers

The Pittsburgh Steelers looked for a long time like they mount a Super Bowl challenge in 2020 before fading down the stretch and in the playoffs. This is yet another year of a closing window gone without a Vince Lombardi Trophy and given they are currently $18.77 million over the salary-cap, some sacrifices need to be made before competitive action rolls around in 2021.

Quarterback Ben Roethlisberger is reportedly speaking with the Steelers about restructuring his deal next week. But more will be needed to keep them financially compliant and competitive on the field.

David DeCastro has had a standout career in Pittsburgh, but the guard is heading into the final year of his deal and it would represent a saving of $8.75 million if they moved him on ahead of time.

Should he become available, then the Carolina Panthers should be the first on the phone. They have a serious need to improve their protection this offseason and if the price is right, someone with DeCastro’s quality and experience would be a significant asset.