3 free-agent linebackers the Carolina Panthers might target in 2021

(Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images) Lavonte David
(Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images) Lavonte David /
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Carolina Panthers
(Jeremy Brevard-USA TODAY Sports) Luke Kuechly /

Which free-agent linebackers could the Carolina Panthers try and acquire in 2021?

If the Carolina Panthers want to be a strong contender in the NFC South in 2021, they need to upgrade and strengthen their defense. After a tough season of transition, cuts, and rebuilding it’s no surprise to fans that the defensive side of the football has changed since their Super Bowl 50 appearance.

This team was known across the league as every offense’s nightmare. Household names like Thomas Davis, Kawann Short, and Luke Kuechly have either retired or been allowed to find new teams, completely changing the culture within the organization.

Times have changed and so have the faces. But the real question now is how can new general manager Scott Fitterer and head coach Matt Rhule bring back life to the heart of the Panthers’ young defense?

The answer could be adding a seasoned veteran linebacker to the middle of Carolina’s gapped defense.

This was an area in which they struggled this season – the first since Kuechly called it a day after a sensational playing career with the Panthers. Even though things improved when dismal free-agent signing Tahir Whitehead was removed from the rotation, more might be needed in order for Phil Snow’s unit to take that next step and into playoff contention.

With this in mind, here are three players who the Panthers can use to fill the void and help them reclaim their reputation of the toughest defense in the NFC South despite the presence of the Super Bowl champion Tampa Bay Buccaneers.