4 free agents the Carolina Panthers have missed out on so far

(Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports) Shaquil Griffin
(Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports) Shaquil Griffin /
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Carolina Panthers
(Trevor Ruszkowski-USA TODAY Sports) Matt Rhule /

Which big-name free agents have the Carolina Panthers missed out on so far during what’s been a quiet start to their 2021 recruitment?

It’s been a quiet start to free agency for the Carolina Panthers, which was to be expected considering general manager Scott Fitterer’s plans for a patient approach. While other teams across the league are making some substantial moves to bolster their rosters, year two of Matt Rhule’s rebuild has opened with some offensive line depth and the surprise release of defensive tackle Zach Kerr.

This is just the start of the free-agent frenzy and considering the state of affairs financially, there will be some more player cuts that could interest the Panthers further down the line. However, this has done nothing to temper what appear to be some increasing frustrations within sections of Carolina’s fanbase.

Trusting the process is easier said than done. Especially considering the Panthers haven’t had a winning record since 2017 when they went 11-5.

Carolina is trying to bring in some quality via free agency according to multiple sources on the frontline. Just why veterans are going in different directions is unclear. But with teams needing to be under the reduced salary cap by 4 pm EST on Wednesday, the pool of potential recruits could swell once again.

Without further ado, let’s take a look at four big names that the Panthers missed out on during their initial foray into free agency.

Player No. 1

Carolina Panthers
(Syndication: The Tennessean) Jonnu Smith /

Jonnu Smith – TE

Regardless of whether the Carolina Panthers were in for Jonnu Smith or not. They should have been.

The tight end has so many athletic skills from a pass-catching perspective that the Panthers sorely missed in the immediate aftermath of Greg Olsen’s departure. So if they don’t address this need at the earliest possible opportunity, it’s going to be a problem.

Smith eventually signed a big-money deal with the New England Patriots, who now have the NFL’s best tight end tandem after they also acquired Hunter Henry. Bill Belichick hasn’t taken Tom Brady winning a Super Bowl too well, making a series of significant signings during the initial stages of free agency and also strengthening the protection with a trade for Trent Brown.

Cam Newton can no longer have any excuses when it comes to weapons. So the upcoming season has the potential to define his legacy.