Stay or go? Carolina Panthers 2021 free agents on defense

(Photo by Stephen Maturen/Getty Images) Efe Obada
(Photo by Stephen Maturen/Getty Images) Efe Obada /
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Carolina Panthers
(Photo by Grant Halverson/Getty Images) Efe Obada /

Efe Obada – Carolina Panthers DL

  • Stay or Go? STAY

To say the 2020 season was a rollercoaster one for Efe Obada would be something of an understatement. The defensive lineman was released by the Carolina Panthers early in the campaign in what recently fired general manager Marty Hurney called “a calculated risk” before he brought back onto the practice squad and earning a spot on the 53-man roster once again.

Obada made the most out of his second chance in no uncertain terms. He was a notable contributor as the season went on and showed an eye-catching versatility to generate pressure either off the edge or as a three-technique defensive tackle when the opportunity arose.

This resulted in some career numbers from Obada, who recorded 5.5 sacks, 18 tackles, 15 quarterback hits, four tackles for loss, one forced fumble, and 21 pressures from just 39 percent of Carolina’s defensive snaps.

The Nigerian-born player is no longer just a feel-good story that others from similar backgrounds can aspire to.

He is a top NFL player and the Panthers should keep him around.

Obada deserves another deal for the level of production he generated in 2020, which came with a 59.7 grade from Pro Football Focus. He is a valuable part of the rotation and although the player might attract some interest in free agency, Carolina shouldn’t have trouble preventing him from testing the market.