4 Carolina Panthers players who can outperform their pay grade in 2022

(Griffin Zetterberg-USA TODAY Sports) Jeremy Chinn
(Griffin Zetterberg-USA TODAY Sports) Jeremy Chinn /
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Which Carolina Panthers players could outperform their pay grade during a critical 2022 campaign for the organization? 

The Carolina Panthers head into the 2022 season with a quiet sense of optimism. Not many in the national media are expecting them to make strides despite the addition of some key pieces and a new quarterback in Baker Mayfield, but surpassing lowly expectations is well within the team’s reach if everything goes well early in the campaign.

Carolina is also in a good position from a salary-cap perspective if those in power decide that another move or two is needed to get this organization back to relevancy. The Panthers have $21.41 million at their disposal according to Over the Cap, which is a far cry from being $29.51 million in the red before sacrifices are made in 2023.

That is for the future. For now, the Panthers need everyone at the top of their game in pursuit of finally becoming competitive three years after head coach Matt Rhule took the job.

With this in mind, here are four Panthers players who could outperform their pay grade in 2022.

Player No. 1

Carolina Panthers
(Jim Dedmon-USA TODAY Sports) Brady Christensen /

Brady Christensen – Carolina Panthers OL

  • 2022 salary-cap number – $1.17 million

After some mismanagement from a positional standpoint as a rookie, the Carolina Panthers have now solidified Brady Christensen‘s starting position long-term after opting to move forward with Ikem Ekwonu as the franchise left tackle. This is good news for the former BYU standout, who can now focus his attention on providing an upgrade on the interior next to the No. 6 overall selection during the upcoming campaign.

Christensen spent a lot of time manning the blindside in camp. But one would have been hard pressed to justify Ekwonu not starting the season given how heavily the Panthers invested in the player – who was the top prospect on their board.

The 2021 third-round pick counts just $1.17 million against the cap on the second year of his rookie deal. Something that might become a significant bargain considering how important Christensen could be next season.