5 free-agent running backs the Panthers should target in 2021

(Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports) Mark Ingram
(Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports) Mark Ingram /
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Carolina Panthers
(Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports) Brian Hill /

Brian Hill

  • 2020 team – Atlanta Falcons

If the Carolina Panthers are looking for a player who can make things happen in a limited role, then Brian Hill must be on the shortlist. The running back made an eye-catching contribution for the Atlanta Falcons in 2020 despite the presence of Todd Gurley, who is also heading into free agency with some doubts about his future.

Hill averages 4.7 yards-per-carry for his career so far and is coming off a campaign where he gained 664 all-purpose yards and one touchdown from 125 combined touches. He has exceptional burst that is matched by elusiveness in tight windows, which would be a tremendous asset to have on any team looking to acquire him in free agency.

The Falcons don’t have much in the way of financial wiggle room with the salary-cap coming down due to COVID-19 revenue losses. So if Hill is looking for a bigger payday, then it would probably have to be away from Atlanta.

One area where Hill really improved last season was his ability to catch out of the backfield. He was able to collect 25 of 30 targets for 199 receiving yards, becoming a valuable check-down option for quarterback Matt Ryan in the process.

Hill is a great teammate, which should ensure a smooth transition from the Falcons to an NFC South rival. Should the Panthers lose Mike Davis to a better offer from elsewhere, this might just be a tailormade replacement.