4 Carolina Panthers players who could take a step back in 2021

Dean Jones
(Photo by Justin Edmonds/Getty Images) A.J. Bouye
(Photo by Justin Edmonds/Getty Images) A.J. Bouye /
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Carolina Panthers
(Jeremy Brevard-USA TODAY Sports) Matt Paradis /

Matt Paradis – Carolina Panthers C

After a torrid first season with the Carolina Panthers in 2019, Matt Paradis looked something like his old self during the previous campaign. The center wasn’t blessed with much in the way of talent alongside him at guard, but he showed enough to suggest that more could be to come on the final year of his deal.

Carolina opted to restructure the veteran rather than cut him loose ahead of time this offseason, which indicates they still have a lot of faith in Paradis. However, the Panthers didn’t exactly reinforce the interior sufficiently to suggest they are going to be any better.

Cam Erving, Pat Elflein, Deonte Brown, and David Moore all join the ranks, with John Miller returning on a one-year deal. Couple this with Paradis having yet another new quarterback to develop chemistry in Sam Darnold and things don’t look that promising from the Boise State product’s point of view.

There doesn’t appear to be a great deal of competition for Paradis – although Elflein has experience at center with the Minnesota Vikings – so whether complacency will become an issue is something else to keep an eye on.

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If Paradis does not hold his own or better in 2021, then the Panthers will have no alternative other than to look for better options next year in free agency or the draft. Their decision to restructure comes at a cost, with Carolina facing a $9.23 million dead-cap figure in 2022 if the lineman fails to earn an extension.