4 free agents the Carolina Panthers should call to replace Pat Elflein

(Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports) Pat Elflein
(Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports) Pat Elflein /
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Carolina Panthers
(Photo by Jonathan Bachman/Getty Images) Nick Easton /

Nick Easton

If the Carolina Panthers want a plug-and-play option on their interior that could occupy multiple positions, then Nick Easton is a veteran that should come upon discussions. His versatility to slot in at either guard spot or as a center is something Matt Rhule and Scott Fitterer will undoubtedly love and it does seem something of a surprise that he remains a free agent at this stage.

Perhaps Easton is looking for the right situation and a starting chance rather than making his way all over again on the practice squad. But his previous NFL experience at every position on the interior, coupled with his NFC South knowledge from his time on the New Orleans Saints, makes this an enticing proposition providing there is a mutual interest.

Easton turned out 12 times for the Saints last season, giving up two sacks and conceding three penalties from 562 snaps on his way to a 59.6 grade from Pro Football Focus.

Sorting the protection is going to be Carolina’s top priority next offseason. Almost every other positional group now has the right pieces in place, so the Panthers can ill-afford to ignore this during free agency of the 2022 NFL Draft.

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Until then, acquiring someone with Easton’s capabilities would be considered an upgrade. In all honesty, whether Pat Elflein is healthy or not.