4 veterans for Panthers to target during third wave of free agency

(Brian Fluharty-USA TODAY Sports) Wayne Gallman
(Brian Fluharty-USA TODAY Sports) Wayne Gallman /
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Carolina Panthers
(Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports) Matt Rhule /

Which veteran players could be available at bargain prices for the Carolina Panthers during the next wave of 2021 free agency ahead of the NFL Draft?

We are now more than two weeks into the free agency period and it has been one of quiet progress for the Carolina Panthers. General manager Scott Fitterer’s patient approach has seen the franchise recruit some nice pieces on both sides of the ball on team-friendly deals, which puts them in a strong position for further progress when competitive action begins in 2021.

This prudent approach to player recruitment is further reflected by the cap-space Carolina still has at its disposal. According to Spotrac, the Panthers still have $23.45 million at their disposal, although some of that needs to be held back for a potential trade if the opportunity arises and the need to sign rookies to their contracts.

Carolina Panthers in a good position to make more moves.

Either way, the Panthers are in a good position to pick up some veteran players who might now just be looking for another opportunity rather than a big payday. This is a climate like no other thanks to the reduced salary-cap following COVID-19 revenue losses. So agreeing to one-year contracts is their best possible solution at this juncture.

If they perform well in 2021, this could lead to a bigger financial commitment in Carolina or elsewhere once the cap soars as expected next year. Simply put, it’s a win-win for all parties.

With this in mind, let’s take a look at four veteran free agents that the Panthers could snag on the cheap to help with their postseason push.

Free-Agent No. 1

Carolina Panthers
(Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports) Ricky Wagner /

Ricky Wagner – OT

  • 2020 team – Green Bay Packers

The Carolina Panthers still need to find a replacement for Russell Okung at left tackle. There is every chance that the decision-makers are targeting one of the top prospects in the NFL Draft, but if they want an insurance policy in case a quarterback falls into their laps then Ricky Wagner represents a player of interest.

Wagner’s time with the Green Bay Packers was cut short despite some outstanding production in 2020. The former fifth-round pick gave up just one sack and didn’t concede a single penalty from 610 snaps on his way to a superb 77.0 grade from Pro Football Focus, so there is little doubt that the player still has plenty left in the tank despite his advancing years.

The Wisconsin product is a high character guy that would provide veteran leadership that Carolina’s locker room is relatively devoid of. This is a low-risk, high reward signing for the Panthers and one they should consider.