4 best Carolina Panthers decisions during 2021 free agency so far

(Trevor Ruszkowski-USA TODAY Sports) Matt Rhule
(Trevor Ruszkowski-USA TODAY Sports) Matt Rhule /
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Carolina Panthers
(Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports) Denzel Perryman /

Finding a solution at linebacker

To say that the Carolina Panthers missed the presence of Luke Kuechly on defense last season would be something of an understatement. The perennial All-Pro brought so much to the second level during a glittering eight-year career that will one day end up in the Pro Football Hall of Fame, so addressing this problem early in free agency was absolutely vital.

This was clearly one of the top priorities of Matt Rhule and Scott Fitterer, who wasted no time in signing Denzel Perryman from the Los Angeles Chargers. The former second-round pick penned a two-year deal with little in the way of financial commitment from Carolina’s perspective, which is a win-win for all parties involved.

For the Panthers, it gives them a ferocious presence on the interior that proves big hitting and the ability to generate pressure in opposing backfields. There are some injury concerns to consider, but the risk is minimal compared to what Perryman can potentially bring on the field.

As for the player, it gives him the chance to prove his worth with more in the way of reps and there is also the added challenge of filling the enormous void left by Kuechly.

Perryman would be wise to seek Kuechly’s counsel when he gets the chance, which he’ll get plenty of opportunities to do given the NFL Defensive Player of the Year is currently on the staff as a pro scout.