What can the Carolina Panthers expect from Super Bowl-winning interior offensive lineman Austin Corbett during the 2022 season?
The Carolina Panthers did a tremendous and much-needed job of strengthening the offensive line this offseason. Something that leaves plenty of hope that the team can finally have a productive unit for whoever is under center.
Just who that is going to be is unclear right now. But the Panthers can be safe in the knowledge their new options could give the signal-caller vital time to go through progressions and also plow big lanes for running back Christian McCaffrey to do his thing for good measure.
There was an element of panic surrounding Carolina’s moves within this positional group in 2021. One only has to look at the contracts given to Cam Erving and Pat Elflein within hours of the legal tampering period getting underway as prime examples of that.
However, that all changed this time around.
The Panthers moved swiftly, but for players with far more proven production than the aforementioned duo, who underperformed significantly as many expected.
Austin Corbett can legitimize the Carolina Panthers OL
One notable addition to the ranks was Austin Corbett, who arrived in Carolina on the back of a Super Bowl triumph with the Los Angeles Rams and instantly legitimizes what the Panthers are trying to do in front of the quarterback.
Corbett was a key contributor for the Rams in 2021, giving up just three sacks and two penalties from 1,081 snaps en route to a creditable 68.8 grade from Pro Football Focus. This was enough for the Panthers to allocate a three-year, $26.35 million deal with a $9.76 million signing bonus and $19.6 million guaranteed to secure his services – a move that could reap some rewards next season and potentially beyond.
Slotting Corbett next to stud right tackle Taylor Moton secures one side of the line. This becomes more impactful when one considers the Panthers also acquired center Bradley Bozeman and promising left tackle Ikem Ekwonu this offseason.
To say this is an improvement would be an understatement. Although much will depend on who wins the left guard battle and whether Ekwonu can step up and make his presence felt right away.
Corbett has the experience to make a difference. He has also been around a winning franchise, so he knows what one looks like and will be doing all he can to ensure Carolina’s locker room has the same mentality moving forward.
Much is expected of the former second-round pick out of Nevada. Perhaps even more than anyone has done throughout his career that’s spanned four years and two teams.
Things might not have gone according to plan for Corbett on the Cleveland Browns. But he deserves all the credit in the world for overcoming adversity and now has a ring to show for his early efforts.
This mentality is going to help the Panthers an untold amount. Expect Corbett to start, become a strong locker room figure, and provide the sort of consistency that has not been seen since the team had Trai Turner fit and firing on all cylinders.
Carolina’s fortunes overall might be hanging in the balance in 2022. However, the addition of Corbett and others should make the offensive line one of the league’s most improved without question.