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
(Tim Fuller-USA TODAY Sports) J.J. Watt /

J.J. Watt

  • 2020 team – Houston Texans

You knew J.J. Watt was going to crack this list, and here he is.

The three-time Defensive Player of the Year is a free agent for the first time in his career and seems to be fully invested in the process – even toying with fans on Twitter. Watt is reportedly in no rush to make his decision and has plenty of suitors in need of his services.

It’s unclear if the Carolina Panthers have expressed an interest in signing him. But he would certainly be a welcome addition to their young and improving defense.

With cornerstone players already on that side of the ball in Brian Burns, Derrick Brown, and Jeremy Chinn, Watt would be the perfect mentor to the Panthers’ young studs. He has proven time and time again that he is a pro’s pro, and is as good a leader and person as he is a football player.

On top of that, his no-nonsense attitude aligns perfectly with the coaching staff’s team philosophy.

There’s no secret how good Watt is on the field. He’s a five-time Pro Bowler and first-team All-Pro, was named to the 2010s All-Decade team, and is a surefire future Pro Football Hall of Famer.

He has twice led the league in sacks, has the third-most tackles for loss since they became a recorded stat, and is ultimately one of the most dominant defensive players to ever play the game. Watt has nearly every individual accolade possible but has made it clear that he wants to win a championship in his next stop.

The Panthers are most likely a couple of years away from truly contending for a Super Bowl. But if they can find the right quarterback to carry the offense, then Watt would be the perfect fit to lead the team’s up-and-coming defense.

They’re a longshot for sure in the Watt sweepstakes, and it’s true that he isn’t the player he once was. However, if they can convince him to come to the Carolina Panthers, their path to an elusive first Vince Lombardi Trophy suddenly becomes much more plausible.