4 veteran wildcards who could shift the balance for Panthers in 2022

(Griffin Zetterberg-USA TODAY Sports) Baker Mayfield
(Griffin Zetterberg-USA TODAY Sports) Baker Mayfield /
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Carolina Panthers
(Jim Dedmon-USA TODAY Sports) Andre Roberts /

Andre Roberts – Carolina Panthers WR/KR

Special teams were not a source of great pride for the Carolina Panthers in 2021. This saw the team fire coach Chase Blackburn almost immediately after the campaign came to a conclusion and also pick up some useful veteran pieces to potentially move the needle next time around.

Johnny Hekker brings All-Decade capabilities as a punter, the Panthers re-signed kicker Zane Gonzalez after a phenomenal first year with the team, Chris Tabor came in as special teams coordinator, and Carolina also got their hands on All-Pro returner Andre Roberts to further enhance their chances.

Roberts may not have made much of an impression as a wide receiver. But few would deny how impactful he’s been in the return game throughout an extremely productive career.

Despite turning out for two teams in 2021, Roberts managed to accumulate 1,010 return yards – the second-highest of his career – so there appears to be plenty left in the tank at 34 years old.

Even if it’s just one season, that’s all the Panthers will be looking for from Roberts. If the former third-round selection can accomplish this, it should be a big-time boost to field position that the offense can put to good use.

This is a low-risk, high-reward move from the Panthers. One that could reap some substantial rewards unless there is a major drop-off from the South Carolina native.