6 team legends who could help the current Panthers most in 2021

Dean Jones
(Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images) Jake Delhomme
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Carolina Panthers
(Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports) Luke Kuechly /

Luke Kuechly – Former Carolina Panthers LB

The Carolina Panthers did strengthen their linebacker options with the signing of Denzel Perryman from the Los Angeles Chargers in free agency. But almost nobody who’s ever played the interior position holds a candle to Luke Kuechly.

Perhaps the youth movement currently transpiring in Carolina came a little too late for Kuechly. He decided to call it a day to preserve his long-term health after the 2019 season and although Matt Rhule kept him around as a pro scout in 2020, the inspirational figure walked away from the organization entirely earlier this offseason.

Perryman should be a huge upgrade on anything the Panthers had in the immediate aftermath of Kuechly’s retirement.

But putting No. 59 on this young, vibrant defense would undoubtedly make all the difference.

The former first-round pick was meticulous in his preparation. Something that saw him call out every play and have his teammates in the right position even before the snap.

Nobody benefitted from this more than Shaq Thompson, who struggled without the perennial All-Pro alongside him in 2020.

Hopefully, things will get better with Perryman in the lineup. But there is no substitute for one of the team’s greatest-ever players and someone who left absolutely everything out on the field.