5 free-agent interior offensive linemen the Panthers could target

(Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports) Brandon Scherff
(Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports) Brandon Scherff /
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Carolina Panthers
(Mark Konezny-USA TODAY Sports) Austin Blythe /

Austin Blythe – C

  • 2020 team – Los Angeles Rams

Although Matt Paradis restructured his contract to give the Carolina Panthers almost $5 million in extra salary-cap space, his place on the roster might be in serious doubt if the organization finds a better option in free agency or the 2021 NFL Draft. The former Boise State standout did improve on a dismal 2019 campaign this season, but there are more questions than answers surrounding his long-term future.

Austin Blythe definitely fits into this category. The Los Angeles Rams got some outstanding production from the former seventh-round pick in 2020 and even though they’d probably like to have him back, a bigger offer from elsewhere might prevent this from happening unless a tag is placed on the player.

Blythe’s communication on the line of scrimmage is exceptional. But with quarterback Jared Goff no longer on the roster, it means developing chemistry from scratch with new signal-caller Matthew Stafford all over again and there will be no better time for the player to cash in elsewhere.

Whether this is the pressing need it once was with Paradis agreeing to move money around is up for debate. But the Panthers not releasing him probably indicates they’re willing to go with the veteran once again on the final year of his deal.

There is no doubting Blythe’s ability to protect and organize on the line of scrimmage. However, getting reinforcements at guard should take priority for Carolina.