6 free agents who could help the Panthers pass-rush in 2021

(Photo by Wesley Hitt/Getty Images) Jadeveon Clowney
(Photo by Wesley Hitt/Getty Images) Jadeveon Clowney /
3 of 7
Carolina Panthers
(Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports) Shaquil Barrett /

Shaquil Barrett

  • 2020 team – Tampa Bay Buccaneers

If the Carolina Panthers are willing to shell out some serious cash to upgrade the pass rush, then Shaquil Barrett would certainly fit that bill. The former undrafted free agent burst onto the scene in 2019 with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, racking up a league-leading 19.5 sacks in his first season as a full-time starter.

A key cog on Tampa Bay’s Super Bowl-winning defense, there’s no doubt Barrett is in for a big payday this offseason.

As for how he would fit with the Panthers, it really isn’t hard to see.

Pairing Barrett with Brian Burns would give Carolina arguably the best pass-rushing duo in the NFL, not to mention one of the quickest and most athletic. Add in last year’s first-round pick Derrick Brown and the defensive front becomes that much more fearsome.

With the releases of Tre Boston, Kawann Short, and others in recent days, the Panthers currently have just under $40 million in projected cap space, so they figure to have the available money if they decide to invest in Barrett. The Teddy Bridgewater situation could also free up some more money, but would almost certainly have to be done via trade.

Regardless of the money, if the Panthers brass feels like a top-flight pass rusher could be the missing piece on the young Carolina defense, then perhaps nobody is a better option than Barrett.

The issue though is whether or not the Buccaneers are willing to let him walk. Tampa has as much available cap room as the Panthers, so it could be difficult to pry him away from the defending Super Bowl champions.