5 players the Panthers shouldn’t have let get away in franchise history

(Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports) Steve Smith
(Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports) Steve Smith /
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Which players were the Carolina Panthers unwise to get rid of throughout their rollercoaster history spanning almost three decades?

There has been plenty of ups and downs for the Carolina Panthers since they entered the league as an expansion team in 1996. Some near misses regarding an elusive Super Bowl triumph and never having back-to-back winning seasons are proof of just what a turbulent ride it’s been for the team’s loyal fanbase for almost 30 years.

Things have been especially rough since their 2015 NFL Championship. The Panthers have gone through some significant complications since Matt Rhule took charge and unless things take a big leap forward in 2022, more upheaval could be on the way.

No team is ever going to get every decision right. But looking back over time, the Panthers have made their fair share of grave errors regarding key personnel they’d probably like to take back in hindsight.

With this in mind, here are five players Carolina shouldn’t have let get away in franchise history.

Player No. 1

Carolina Panthers
(Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports) Trai Turner /

Trai Turner – Former Carolina Panthers OL

The Carolina Panthers traded away their most productive interior lineman soon after Matt Rhule took over as head coach. Trai Turner’s contract was deemed expendable and he was shipped to the Los Angeles Chargers in exchange for veteran left tackle Russell Okung, which was a strange move at the time considering how much the Super Bowl winner had struggled with injuries.

This was probably a mistake in hindsight. Turner was still in his prime and secured five straight Pro Bowl selections before the trade, which didn’t come off for either party and the Panthers suffered greatly as a result.

In an ideal world, Turner should have stuck around and the Panthers would have maintained some consistency alongside Taylor Moton. But it just wasn’t to be.