5 NFC West free agents the Carolina Panthers should target in 2021

(Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports) Josh Reynolds
(Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports) Josh Reynolds /
4 of 5
Carolina Panthers
(Photo by Justin K. Aller/Getty Images) Mike Iupati /

Mike Iupati – OG

  • 2020 team – Seattle Seahawks

One of the real problems that the Carolina Panthers need to solve this offseason is their interior protection. John Miller and Chris Reed just didn’t do enough to prove they were a solid tandem long-term and although center Matt Paradis should get a reprieve after restructuring his deal, there is every likelihood of two new starters alongside him.

This is projected to be a deep class for offensive linemen entering the league via the NFL Draft this spring. Carolina should take use this to their advantage, but bringing in an experienced veteran presence who can be a plug-and-play option would be a smart move.

Scott Fitterer knows all about the out-of-contract personnel within the Seattle Seahawks having worked closely with them as VP of player personnel. Whether this would be enough to tip the scales in Carolina’s favor is up for debate, but some additional knowledge on potential recruits from his former employer isn’t going to hurt.

Mike Iupati might be in the twilight of his career now. However, his leadership would make a massive difference to a young roster and his consistency is still there even after an 11-year career.

The former first-round pick has lived up to his billing. Iupati is an All-Pro and a four-time Pro Bowler who managed to turn out in 10 games last season, giving up one sack and conceding four penalties.

Depending on how much Iupati is commanding, it would be wise for Carolina to explore the possibility, at the very least.