Grading the previous five eventful Carolina Panthers offseasons

(Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports) Ron Rivera and Matt Rhule
(Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports) Ron Rivera and Matt Rhule /
2 of 6
Carolina Panthers
(Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports) Christian McCaffrey /

Carolina Panthers 2017 offseason grade: B

Looking back at the Carolina Panthers’ 2017 free-agent class, the signings are a bit underwhelming. The highlights of that class include the returns of Julius Peppers and Captain Munnerlyn, as well as the addition of safety Mike Adams.

The lowlights of that class are pretty low, to say the least. If you’re a Charlotte Hornets fan, then you know how bad the Nicolas Batum contract was. If you’re a Panthers fan, then you know the Matt Kalil deal was just as bad.

After witnessing a revolving door at left tackle since Jordan Gross retired, Kalil was supposed to provide some stability on the quarterback’s blindside. Instead, he brought average play at best and fell far short of living up to the five-year, $55.5 million contract that Marty Hurney gave him.

He was cut the following offseason and left the Panthers with millions in dead cap. Fellow 2017 signees Charles Johnson and Russell Shepard also failed to make much positive impact.

Johnson never played a game for Carolina, while Shepard had only 202 receiving yards and was gone the following season.

The 2017 draft class was the saving grace for that offseason. The sexy pick was obviously selecting Christian McCaffrey with the No. 8 overall selection out of Stanford. However, this was also the same year that Hurney traded up to get tackle Taylor Moton out of Western Michigan.

Curtis Samuel, Corn Elder, and Alex Armah also came on board and were key contributors for the Panthers at some point in their careers. Hurney also selected kicker Harrison Butker in the seventh round that year, only to cut him in favor of Graham Gano.

As bad as some of the free-agent signings were in 2017, the return of Peppers, along with the drafting of McCaffrey, Moton, and others was enough to overcome one of the worst signings in franchise history. The promotion of Steve Wilks to defensive coordinator also proved to be a wise move, further boosting this offseason’s grade.