4 high-risk free agents the Panthers should consider in 2021

(Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports) Xavier Rhodes
(Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports) Xavier Rhodes /
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Carolina Panthers
(Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sports) Jameis Winston /

Jameis Winston – QB

  • 2020 team – New Orleans Saints

The Carolina Panthers are on the lookout for a new quarterback this offseason and will leave no stone unturned in this pursuit. Teddy Bridgewater’s inconsistent play and inability to get his team over the line in close games was there for all to see and played a leading role in their eventual 5-11 record.

A failed trade for Matthew Stafford, a steep asking price for Deshaun Watson, and the potential for the top-three signal-callers in the 2021 NFL Draft being off the board by No. 8 overall might see the Panthers roll the dice on a veteran in free agency with a “feast or famine” outlook.

Jameis Winston fit this bill, to put it mildly.

The former No. 1 overall pick was released by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers after a 2019 season that brought more than 5,000 passing yards, 33 touchdowns, and an incredible 30 interceptions. This decision was a shrewd one as Tom Brady guided them to a Super Bowl, but Winston will have learned plenty from backing up Drew Brees with the New Orleans Saints which will stand him in good stead as he looks to become a starter once again.

New Orleans is really up against it from a salary-cap perspective. So they might not be in a position to offer Winston a longer-term commitment.

Carolina would be swinging for the fences by bringing in the signal-caller, who could be productive in Joe Brady’s offense providing the mistakes that blighted his time in Tampa are cut out.

This is a high-risk signing, of that there is little doubt. But if everything clicks into place for Winston on a talented offense loaded with playmakers, it could be enough to get his career back on track.