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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Carolina Panthers
(Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports) Rashard Higgins /

Rashard Higgins – Carolina Panthers WR

  • 2022 salary-cap number – $1.04 million

The Carolina Panthers picked up Rashard Higgins way before their decision to trade for Baker Mayfield. But this latest quarterback gamble seems to have benefitted the wide receiver more than most.

Higgins was seen as a roster bubble candidate after a down year on the Cleveland Browns in 2021. The wideout has undeniable talent, but it remained to be seen whether or not he’d rise to the occasion in a different environment.

As it turned out, reuniting with Mayfield was all Higgins needed to prove beyond all doubt how pivotal he could be next season. The Colorado State product enjoyed a fantastic camp, gradually surging up the depth chart en route to some potential involvement on the rotation with a quarterback he’s very familiar with.

Mayfield trusts Higgins. And with a cap number of $1.04 million, this could be an absolute steal if the receiver emerges as a dependable target that can be counted upon in key moments.

D.J. Moore and Robbie Anderson remain the starters. One could also see Shi Smith get some work with doubts increasing about Terrace Marshall Jr. from a health standpoint.

However, Higgins has also demonstrated more than enough to warrant his fair share of balls as the campaign goes on.