4 Panthers next on the chopping block after Christian McCaffrey trade

(Douglas DeFelice-USA TODAY Sports) Christian McCaffrey
(Douglas DeFelice-USA TODAY Sports) Christian McCaffrey /
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Carolina Panthers
(Robert Hanashiro-USA TODAY Sports) Donte Jackson /

Donte Jackson – Carolina Panthers CB

It doesn’t take a genius to figure out that the Carolina Panthers opting to cut ties with Haason Reddick and Stephon Gilmore in free agency was a mistake. These were two proven performers with more to give and have been sorely missed by a franchise that banked too much on their draft selections progressing.

Extending Donte Jackson was a call those in power also made instead. The cornerback performed well overall in 2021 despite more injury concerns, with his ability against the run something else the Panthers deemed worthy enough for a three-year extension rather than the former second-round selection leaving for nothing.

Jackson hasn’t been at the top of his game this season. His coverage has often been sloppy and the contract is pretty easy to shift right now rather than when things get more complicated financially in 2023.

Carolina has Jaycee Horn as their true shutdown cornerback. But C.J. Henderson’s trade from the Jacksonville Jaguars isn’t working out and Keith Taylor Jr. was seldom seen under Matt Rhule despite an encouraging rookie campaign in difficult circumstances.

Christian McCaffrey’s departure indicates nobody outside of perhaps three or four individuals is off the table. Jackson’s athleticism and speed could tempt another team to make a call, which the Panthers should consider.