Carlos Dunlap situation remains fluid following Carolina Panthers visit

(Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports) Carlos Dunlap
(Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports) Carlos Dunlap /

The Carolina Panthers and Carlos Dunlap didn’t reach a deal after his recent visit, but that’s not to say it couldn’t happen in the near future. 

It would be wise for the Carolina Panthers to bring in some assistance on their defensive front before the 2022 season. Losing Haason Reddick and DaQuan Jones in free agency was a blow and something those in power haven’t addressed as yet aside from picking up interior lineman Matt Ioannidis following his release by the Washington Commanders.

Perhaps the likes of Yetur Gross-Matos and Marquis Haynes can make the necessary improvements with more playing time. But there’s just no way of telling for sure and if the Panthers cannot generate significant pressure on opposing quarterbacks, it’s going to pile additional and unnecessary pressure on their talented young secondary as a result.

Carolina explored the possibility of bringing in a veteran with the visit of Carlos Dunlap over a two-day period earlier this week. The experience defensive end has 96 career sacks and would be a fantastic addition to the team’s edge options if a deal can be reached.

That did not come to fruition during his time in Carolina. Head coach Matt Rhule stated there was “nothing imminent” regarding a deal between Dunlap and the Panthers, although it wasn’t ruled out entirely with a few weeks remaining until training camp in Spartanburg.

Carlos Dunlap has much to consider before joining the Carolina Panthers

This was a sentiment echoed by Panthers team reporter Darin Gantt during his recent mailbag column, who added that there could be many factors in play before a formal decision is reached between the player and the organization.

"“As for defensive linemen, they’re going to continue to look. Carlos Dunlap was here this week for a visit, and is still an option (old heads like Dunlap consider other factors besides just money when they’re deciding where to play).”"

As Gantt was right to suggest, the financial package is just one component that Dunlap will be pondering before agreeing to join the Panthers. Things such as the player’s role, the overall fit, and just what the team’s aspirations are for the upcoming campaign also figure into the equation.

Perhaps Dunlap will bide his time and wait for a potential injury in training camp for a Super Bowl contender to come calling. But that means missing part of the all-important preparation period in readiness for the new campaign.

Dunlap would get the chance to earn prominent reps opposite Brian Burns in Carolina. Something that could intrigue the Pro Bowler at this stage of his career and especially with the 100-sack club close to his grasp.

Whether it’s Dunlap or someone else, what’s important for the Panthers is enhancing their depth across the defensive line before the season. This bears more significance when one considers that former fifth-round selection Daviyon Nixon is still working his way back from a serious knee injury that ended his rookie year way ahead of schedule.

It remains a pretty fluid situation regarding Dunlap and his potential arrival in Carolina. However, general manager Scott Fitterer and other front office figures will already be coming up with contingency plans if things fade out with the Florida product.

No team can ever have enough prolific pass-rushers. A situation that the Panthers need to resolve sooner rather than later.

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