5 defensive sleepers for the Carolina Panthers in 2021 free agency

(Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports) Jourdan Lewis
(Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports) Jourdan Lewis /
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Carolina Panthers
(Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports) Tarell Basham /

Tarell Basham – OLB

  • 2020 team – New York Jets

Nobody outside of perhaps Quinnen Williams emerged from the New York Jets‘ season with any sense of encouragement on defense. Tarell Basham went through his fair share of struggles despite some nice moments. But his future with the organization is very much up in the air following the arrival of Robert Saleh as head coach.

If the Jets want to keep Basham around, they can afford it.

Financial complications across the NFL due to a decreasing salary-cap won’t impact their plans for progression in any way. So it will simply be a case of whether Saleh rates the former third-round pick enough to keep him on the roster.

Basham gained a career-high 3.5 sacks in 2020 from nine starts. There was a lot to like about some of his production and a move elsewhere could see more to come from the player.

The Carolina Panthers should take a good look at Basham as an under-the-radar player in free agency that could make an instant contribution. A couple of reinforcements are needed at the defensive second level despite the impending return of Christian Miller, so picking up the Ohio product at the right price is an enticing proposition.

It’s also easy to forget that Basham is only just entering his prime. So adding him to a pass-rush that also includes Brian Burns, Yetur Gross-Matos, and Derrick Brown is sure to bring out the best in him.