6 free agents in problem areas the Panthers should sign pre-camp

(Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images) Olivier Vernon
(Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images) Olivier Vernon /
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Carolina Panthers
(Matt Starkey/Cleveland Browns via USA TODAY Sports) Olivier Vernon /

Olivier Vernon – DE/OLB

  • 2020 team – Cleveland Browns

It’s worth noting that Olivier Vernon is working his way back from an Achilles injury that kept him out for the Cleveland Browns‘ anticipated return to the playoffs. However, his production before this unfortunate occurrence caught the eye.

Providing he’ll be all systems go for the season, it could be a shrewd pickup by the Carolina Panthers.

Vernon broke out during his sophomore campaign with the Miami Dolphins in 2014, registering 11.5 sacks. Although the former third-round pick hasn’t reached the same heights since he did manage nine quarterback takedowns in 2020 before injury cut his campaign short.

Another thing Vernon has going for him is versatility. He can rush the passer with his hand in the dirt as a defensive end or standing up as an outside linebacker, which is something the Panthers covet in almost every new addition.

Carolina has struggled to generate pressure in opposing backfields from the second level. Shaq Thompson’s lack of rushing ability is there for all to see and it would take a huge leap forward from Jermaine Carter on the final year of his deal to change his narrative.

Much will obviously depend on Vernon’s health. But his style of play would fit in well with the Panthers’ current options providing the price is right.