5 dream free-agent targets for the Carolina Panthers in 2021

(Syndication: Cincinnati) William Jackson III
(Syndication: Cincinnati) William Jackson III /
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Carolina Panthers
(Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports) Hunter Henry /

Hunter Henry – TE

  • 2020 team – Los Angeles Chargers

It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out that the Carolina Panthers need more production from the tight end spot. Ian Thomas didn’t end up being the long-term answer to Greg Olsen’s departure last season, so it would be a huge shock if the organization didn’t address this with one or two additional options in free agency and the 2021 NFL Draft.

Thomas deserved the first chance to prove his worth after doing well in a rotational role behind Olsen over a two-year period. But with just 31 targets and 20 receptions during the campaign, the former Indiana standout just couldn’t make the necessary steps forward with more responsibility on his shoulders.

Someone like Hunter Henry would change all that in an instant. He is widely considered to be one of the NFL’s more reliable pass-catchers across the middle and this is something Carolina needs in a big way with wide receiver Curtis Samuel set to depart this spring.

Henry has proved his fitness after a serious leg injury, which forced him to miss the entire 2018 campaign. The prolific veteran has 1,265 receiving yards and nine touchdowns over the last two seasons with the Los Angeles Chargers and few would deny he wouldn’t be a massive upgrade on anything Carolina has currently.

As is the base with every decision made across the NFL in the coming weeks, much will depend on how much Henry is commanding. He played on the franchise tag in 2020, so getting more in the way of financial security will be equally as important as the right fit.