5 veteran free agents to boost the Carolina Panthers pass-rush in 2022

(Stan Szeto-USA TODAY Sports) Benson Mayowa
(Stan Szeto-USA TODAY Sports) Benson Mayowa /
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Carolina Panthers
(Ken Blaze-USA TODAY Sports) Takkarist McKinley /

Carolina Panthers could target Takkarist McKinley

The Carolina Panthers should be eager to see what Yetur Gross-Matos can do from a legitimate starting role. His production on a rotational basis on the edge and as a three-technique on the interior last season was very encouraging and with additional development, there might be even more to come in the not-too-distant future.

However, the Panthers need to find themselves a contingency plan in the event Gross-Matos cannot make his presence felt at the defensive end spot opposite Brian Burns. Marquis Haynes has proven capable of making an impact with limited reps, but another experienced asset wouldn’t be the world idea in the world by any stretch.

Takkarist McKinley is no stranger to the Panthers having turned out for the Atlanta Falcons over the first four years of his professional career, where the former first-round selection notched 17.5 sacks, 22 tackles for loss, and 45 quarterback hits.

McKinley’s time as a depth chart figure on the Cleveland Browns in 2021 ended prematurely through injury and the player is still searching for alternative employment. Providing there are no further complications on the health front, this could be a low-risk, high-reward pickup that can take some urgency off Amare Barno’s development for good measure.

This is also a move that is unlikely to cost the earth, giving Carolina the option of strengthening other needs should they wish.