4 Panthers starters that could be benched during 2022 season

(Jeremy Brevard-USA TODAY Sports) Ian Thomas
(Jeremy Brevard-USA TODAY Sports) Ian Thomas /
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Carolina Panthers
(Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports) Damien Wilson /

Damien Wilson – Carolina Panthers LB

There have been so many exceptional linebackers throughout franchise history, that fans have almost taken it for granted. That is not the case anymore after Luke Kuechly hung up his cleats due to health reasons after the 2019 season.

To say things went south immediately after would be understating things slightly. Tahir Whitehead was a disaster and Jermaine Carter swiftly moved on in free agency after an inconsistent time manning the second-level interior in 2021.

This leaves the Panthers looking at their third starter in as many seasons without Kuechly to call upon. Damien Wilson has a good pedigree despite struggling at times with the Jacksonville Jaguars last season, but whether this represents an upgrade remains to be seen.

Carolina is currently awaiting Wilson’s fate regarding an offseason arrest with concerning allegations attached. Not exactly the best thing to hang over the player before embarking on a new challenge.

The Panthers also got a couple of contingency plans in case Wilson doesn’t work out one way or another. Cory Littleton was also signed in free agency and a bold move up to No. 120 overall for Brandon Smith gives them a long-term prospect to develop in the coming months.

Hopefully, Wilson works out. If not, the Panthers have other options and also enough cash to make another signing should they wish.