5 recent Carolina Panthers departures who were missed most in 2021

(Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports) Denzel Perryman
(Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports) Denzel Perryman /
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Carolina Panthers
(Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports) Matt Rhule /

Which Carolina Panthers players were missed the most during what became another disastrous 2021 season for the organization?

It’s no secret that the Carolina Panthers majorly failed to meet their targets in 2021. Expectations went to another level after a 3-0 start against some of the league’s bottom-feeders, but a cataclysmic collapse saw Matt Rhule’s men lose 12 of their final 14 contests to pile some monumental pressure on the key decision-makers this offseason.

Team owner David Tepper is moving forward with Rhule and although reportedly embarrassed by the contract given to his head coach, he clearly feels confident enough in his potential to turn things around in a critical Year 3.

Morale within the fanbase could not be much lower. And the Panthers are clearly paying for some rash decisions and poor personnel evaluation in important areas of the roster.

With this in mind, here are five recent Carolina departures the team missed most in 2021.

Departure No. 1

Carolina Panthers
(Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports) Russell Okung /

Russell Okung – Former Carolina Panthers OT

Yes, there was a significant concern surrounding Russell Okung’s ability to stay on the field for a consistent period of time. But it’s easy to forget just how well he played over his seven games at left tackle for the Carolina Panthers in 2020.

Okung wasn’t brought back last spring, which was the right call to make at the time. However, when one considers how Cam Erving performed on the blindside, it might have been good to keep the former Super Bowl winner around in some capacity.

Carolina’s offensive line was a complete mess. Had Okung managed to stay injury-free, it would have been a significant upgrade on anything the Panthers currently have on their roster.