5 free-agent offensive tackles the Panthers should target in 2021

(Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports) Eric Fisher
(Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports) Eric Fisher /
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Carolina Panthers
(Jeremy Brevard-USA TODAY Sports) Taylor Moton /

Which free-agent offensive tackles should the Carolina Panthers try and pursue when the free-agent frenzy begins later this month?

What comes next over the next few weeks will be pivotal for the Carolina Panthers in their pursuit of progression in 2021. They have some nice young pieces from which to build a potential playoff contender. But it’s vital that those in positions of power get recruitment right this spring to ensure they hit the ground running when competitive action begins next season.

One area that needs a substantial makeover is the offensive line. Carolina struggled in this particular positional group overall and it would be a huge surprise if there weren’t three new starters across the protection next time around.

The Panthers did make a shrewd move by placing the franchise tag on stud right tackle Taylor Moton, which he has already signed. Letting him test the free-agent market was simply not an option and hopefully, a long-term deal can be agreed upon for one of the best edge protectors in the business sooner rather than later.

Carolina Panthers need a reliable LT this offseason.

It doesn’t look as if Russell Okung will be coming back after he was acquired in a trade with the Los Angeles Chargers that sent Pro Bowler Trai Turner in the other direction. Both players are now on the free-agent scrapheap just one year after the deal, which means Carolina did come out as a winner thanks to the financial savings involved.

Getting a prolific blindside presence is going to be crucial. There are doubts surrounding just who is going to be under center for the Panthers, but whether it’s Teddy Bridgewater, Deshaun Watson, or a top-end NFL Draft pick, having a consistent left tackle is essential.

With this in mind, let’s take a look at five free-agent offensive tackles who could help the Panthers in 2021.

Offensive Tackle No. 1

Carolina Panthers
(Brad Rempel-USA TODAY Sports) Riley Reiff /

Riley Reiff

  • 2020 team – Minnesota Vikings

The Minnesota Vikings made the tough but necessary decision to cut Riley Reiff ahead of free agency. His level of production was of a high standard in 2020 and had it not been for a shrinking salary-cap, the organization would have kept him around.

This is a scenario that is evident across the NFL thanks to COVID-19 revenue losses and things might get worse before they get better. The Carolina Panthers would be wise to take advantage of this with the $32.59 million they currently have at their disposal and Reiff represents a plug-and-play starter who’d also bring a significant amount of leadership within the locker room.

Minnesota’s problems protecting Kirk Cousins come from the interior and not from their tackle tandem of Reiff and Brian O’Neill. So if the Panthers went in this direction, it would benefit them enormously.