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
(Syndication: PackersNews) Christian Kirksey /

Christian Kirksey – LB

  • 2020 team – Green Bay Packers

Although Jermaine Carter played well at the inside linebacker position for the Carolina Panthers when Tahir Whitehead was finally put out of his misery, the decision-makers might also look to bring in someone else at the right price to keep the competition for places honest.

Carter’s production dictates he’ll get a shot at making the No. 1 position his own during training camp despite a personality clash with head coach Matt Rhule that made him a virtual afterthought during the first half of the season.

Whether he can make the most of it will be largely down to the former fifth-round pick. But a contingency plan needs to be put in place if things don’t work out.

The Green Bay Packers are projected to be $21.8 million over the cap heading into the offseason. So they might be looking to offload a couple of veterans to bring in the pieces needed that could get them one step closer after narrowly missing out this time around.

Christian Kirksey might be a prime candidate for early release with a saving of $5.6 million and he would be in high demand on the free-agent market. He can play anywhere at the second level and notched 77 tackles, two sacks, and two tackles for loss from just 11 games in 2020.

This might not cost the Panthers much financially. If Kirksey does become available it would be a shrewd acquisition that would surely improve a unit that went through its ups and downs this season.