7 Carolina Panthers players who could be gone after the 2021 season

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Donte Jackson – Carolina Panthers CB

There is no denying Donte Jackson’s potential to be great at this juncture. What the Carolina Panthers got from the cornerback over the final few games of the 2020 season was of shutdown caliber, so putting this together over a prolonged period of time is going to be crucial for the team’s chances during the upcoming campaign.

Jackson dealt with a turf toe that became an ongoing issue before Carolina finally took him out of the firing line. The LSU product now has way more help around him after the additions of No. 8 overall selection Jaycee Horn and former Pro Bowler A.J. Bouye, so taking some pressure off could preserve his health enough for him to stay on the field all season.

This is a huge campaign awaiting Jackson.

He is in the final year of his rookie deal. If the 2018 second-round pick takes another leap forward, then a bumper pay increase could be coming his way in Carolina or elsewhere next spring.

The previous regimes have let the likes of Josh Norman and James Bradberry walk in the past. If Jackson shows true lockdown growth in 2021, then the Panthers would be wise to keep him around.

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Whether this would be a lengthy extension or the franchise tag is irrelevant. Carolina needs dynamic players like Jackson if they want to realistically enter the playoff picture and if he performs to the level anticipated, it’s a no-brainer to keep him on the books.