4 former Panthers players who will get signed after the draft

(Photo by Harry How/Getty Images) Rasul Douglas
(Photo by Harry How/Getty Images) Rasul Douglas /
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Carolina Panthers
(San Francisco 49ers/Pool Photo via USA TODAY Network) Richard Sherman /

Which former Carolina Panthers players who are currently free agents might have to wait until after the 2021 NFL Draft to sign with a new team?

As All-Pro cornerback Richard Sherman put it, teams will now be focusing on the 2021 NFL Draft before signing an “old fool“. There are plenty of former Carolina Panthers players still looking for a new home after the team decided to go in a different direction, which came at the worst possible time for those concerned considering the state of the market across the league thanks to COVID-19.

Most of these players have been in this situation before, so it is nothing new. It’s probably just a waiting game now as teams look to strengthen their respective rosters with exciting college recruits who represent younger and cheaper alternatives. But attention should once again turn to veterans once holes become clearer ahead of OTAs and training camp.

The Panthers are probably in the same position themselves. They’ve been shrewd with their free-agent signings so far and done well to bring in the right sort of quality without breaking the bank, but whether this is going to bring an immediate turnaround in fortunes will be largely dependent on just what they have in quarterback Sam Darnold after acquiring the former first-round pick from the New York Jets.

Without further ado, let’s take a look at four former Panthers players who have the best chance of being signed by a new team following the draft.

Player No. 1

Carolina Panthers
(Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports) Russell Okung /

Russell Okung – Former Carolina Panthers OT

There was nothing wrong with Russell Okung’s production in 2020 after he arrived at the Carolina Panthers in a deal that sent Pro Bowler Trai Turner to the Los Angeles Chargers. Both veterans are on the lookout for a new deal elsewhere just one year removed from the trade, but with interest now dwindling in the Super Bowl winner, he needs to remain patient and find the right fit once the draft comes to a conclusion later this month.

Every team is looking for players with a proven pedigree such as Okung, who gave up three sacks and conceded four penalties from 403 snaps in 2020 on his way to a creditable 73.0 grade from Pro Football Focus. Staying healthy was the biggest problem for the player, who won’t be given anything other than a short-term deal with incentives from another interested party.

Okung doesn’t need the money. So much will depend on just how much motivation the player has left in the tank after a glittering NFL career.