5 AFC South free-agents the Panthers could target in 2021

(Douglas DeFelice-USA TODAY ) J.J. Watt
(Douglas DeFelice-USA TODAY ) J.J. Watt /
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Carolina Panthers
(Douglas DeFelice-USA TODAY Sports) Keelan Cole /

Keelan Cole – WR

  • 2020 team – Jacksonville Jaguars

The Carolina Panthers should already be preparing for life without Curtis Samuel. Even though the organization has some extra financial resources available, there won’t be enough to meet the former Ohio State star’s demands considering the outstanding level of production he demonstrated in 2020.

If the Panthers can reach a long-term deal with stud right tackle Taylor Moton, then a tag-and-trade situation might present itself where Samuel is concerned. But either way, the chances of him sticking around are slim at best.

This would leave Carolina needing to find another wideout either in free agency or the 2021 NFL Draft. Keelan Cole appears to be a perfect candidate from the outside looking in and there is going to be a huge rebuild at the Jacksonville Jaguars this spring that might see him become surplus to requirements.

Cole is coming off a campaign where he brought in 55 receptions from 88 targets for 642 receiving yards and five touchdowns. This was his best output since 2017 when the former Kentucky Wesleyan star burst onto the scene as a rookie and might see a few teams look in his direction if he’s allowed to test the free-agent market.

Whether this prices the Panthers out of any potential deal is up for debate. But it’s an option they should consider, at the very least.