5 trades the Carolina Panthers might consider before 2022 season opener

(Jim Dedmon-USA TODAY Sports) Sam Darnold
(Jim Dedmon-USA TODAY Sports) Sam Darnold /
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Carolina Panthers
(Katie Stratman-USA TODAY Sports) Jessie Bates III /

Carolina Panthers could swing for Jessie Bates

When the franchise tag is involved there is always a chance a player will soon be suiting up in another uniform. If the Carolina Panthers cannot land Roquan Smith, then Jessie Bates III would be a great target, giving the team a playmaker on the back end on defense.

Jaycee Horn is already slotted to return to the secondary, adding Bates would bring another significant boost to the defensive backs and potentially allow Jeremy Chinn to switch back to the second level where he starred as a rookie.

Bates has made it clear he is unhappy playing on the franchise tag and wants to be paid after a breakout season. This would be costly in terms of compensation and an extension, which is something the Panthers might not contemplate given that they signed Xavier Woods in free agency.

With star quarterback Joe Burrow due for a new deal soon, can the Cincinnati Bengals afford to pay their safety long-term? This is a question the Panthers’ front office should be asking and at the very least check in on Bates and see what it would take for the Bengals to part ways with the player.

Bates joining the defense alongside Horn’s return would be the equivalent of the team landing two top defensive free agents. It’s also got the scope to completely change the outlook on what the Panthers did or rather didn’t do this offseason.

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