Ranking the 6 best Carolina Panthers free-agent signings in 2022

(Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports) Bradley Bozeman
(Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports) Bradley Bozeman /
3 of 6
Carolina Panthers
(Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports) Johnny Hekker /

Johnny Hekker – Carolina Panthers P

  • Three year, $7.62 million deal ($4.87 million guaranteed)

It’s not often that a player like Johnny Hekker becomes available on the free-agent market. The decorated punter was surprisingly let go by the Los Angeles Rams following their memorable 2021 campaign and the Carolina Panthers struck with conviction to bring him to the franchise shortly after.

Hekker is an All-Decade punter with no fewer than eight combined All-Pro and Pro Bowl selections to his name. He’s one of the greatest ever at the position and represents a significant upgrade on anything Carolina’s had for some time.

Lachlan Edwards was serviceable last season without doing enough to earn a new deal. In Hekker, they now have a dependable figure that has proven credentials at the highest level for a prolonged period.

It might not seem all that important. But if the offense struggles again, the Panthers will need a prolific punter to establish strong field position in key moments.

Hekker is more than capable of achieving this objective. And he might end up being one of the team’s best pickups this offseason when it’s all said and done.

Couple this with the addition of Andre Roberts, Zane Gonzalez signing a new deal, and the appointment of coach Chris Tabor, and the Panthers have a solid special teams unit if everything goes according to plan.