6 Carolina Panthers players who earned themselves contracts for 2022

(Jonathan Dyer-USA TODAY Sports) Ameer Abdullah
(Jonathan Dyer-USA TODAY Sports) Ameer Abdullah /
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Carolina Panthers
(Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports) Scott Fitterer /

Which Carolina Panthers players did enough to earn themselves new deals with the organization for the 2022 season?

After a 3-0 start, enthusiasm was building around the Carolina Panthers. Dominating wins over the New York Jets, New Orleans Saints, and Houston Texans had fans buzzing, and for good reason. The defense was playing lights out, Christian McCaffrey was back to his old ways, and Sam Darnold appeared to be a huge beneficiary from a change of scenery.

The following 15 weeks became far more frustrating than the first three were exciting. Over the team’s final 14 games, the Panthers won only twice, went through three starting quarterbacks, countless offensive line combinations, and saw several of their star players land on season-ending injured reserve.

Now, as the playoffs are gearing up, Carolina is sitting at home for the fourth-straight winter.

According to reports, Matt Rhule will begin his search for a new offensive coordinator this week. By the looks of things, he will seek one with significant NFL experience – something the head coach has been widely criticized for not doing in the past.

Also on the docket for the Panthers is determining which free agents to re-sign.

Carolina currently has 25 players with expired contracts, many of whom will not be back. Most of those weren’t high-impact players in 2021 and can be expendable. Others earned themselves some nice paydays.

Free agency does not officially begin until 4 p.m. on March 16. However, teams can agree to new contracts with players who most recently played for them prior to the start of the new league year.

So with that being said, here are six players that the Panthers should try hard to bring back in 2022.