With the NFL’s free-agency period set to open in the coming days, the offensive line has to be a focal point for the Carolina Panthers.
During the 2021 offseason, the Carolina Panthers neglected to make any real upgrades along their offensive line. They absolutely cannot afford to do that again in 2022.
Carolina surrendered 52 sacks this past season, the fifth-most in the NFL. Of the four teams who gave up more, only one made the playoffs.
The fact that the Panthers’ offensive line was a wreck shouldn’t have come as much surprise though. Journeyman Cameron Erving was signed with hopes that he would solidify the quarterback’s blindside. Pat Elflein, who struggled the past couple of seasons, was slotted in next to the former first-round pick.
Matt Paradis, who has been decent since arriving in Carolina, started the season at the center spot but tore his ACL halfway through the year. The right guard position was a revolving door all season long and Taylor Moton, who has developed into an elite right tackle, was moved around some.
To make a long story short, the Panthers’ offensive line was really bad in 2021. Matt Rhule has done an impressive job at rebuilding the team’s defense. However, the poor protection was a clear weak link.
If Rhule wants to keep his job beyond 2022, he had better make sure that this unit improves. If it doesn’t, he may not even survive the entire campaign.
Looking at their options now, the Panthers seem to be set with Moton. Brady Christensen showed some value as a rookie in 2021, but it remains to be seen if he will play guard or tackle primarily. Other than those two, everyone is replaceable, and pretty much everyone should be replaced.
So as our free-agency series continues, here are seven players the Panthers could sign to shore up their interior offensive line.