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 /
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Carolina Panthers
(Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sports) Trey Hendrickson /

Trey Hendrickson

  • 2020 team – New Orleans Saints

Perhaps no free agent at any position improved his stock as much as Trey Hendrickson did in 2020. Like Shaq Barrett, he is another player who erupted with a huge first season as a full-time starter and tallied 13.5 sacks for the division-rival New Orleans Saints.

This was good enough for second-best in the NFL. Hendrickson was also given the third-best productivity rating among players with at least 100 pass-rushing snaps according to Pro Football Focus.

There is no denying the fact that Hendrickson came out of nowhere this past season. But he was consistent in his success, recording at least one sack in 11 games and having four multi-sack performances – including two takedowns against Patrick Mahomes and the Kansas City Chiefs.

Hendrickson’s pure athleticism is perhaps his best trait, as he put up very impressive metrics at the 2017 pre-draft combine, and was heralded as one of the most gifted athletes in his class. That could fit perfectly into a Carolina Panthers’ defense that is focusing on building a fast, high-energy unit on that side of the ball.

As a result of his massive 2020 campaign, the soon-to-be fifth-year pro is probably going to command a decent-sized contract. It remains to be seen whether or not a return to New Orleans will be possible given their cap situation, so there’s a good chance he could be on the move this offseason.

He is expected to seek a deal in the $10-12 million per year range, according to multiple sources, and with all the money recently cleared, the Panthers would have the space to make a run at Hendrickson.