4 early free agents the Carolina Panthers should monitor in 2023

(Rich Barnes-USA TODAY Sports) Devin Singletary
(Rich Barnes-USA TODAY Sports) Devin Singletary /
1 of 4

Which free agents should the Carolina Panthers already have their eye on ahead of more landmark changes in 2023?

There are so many unknowns surrounding the Carolina Panthers right now that it’s hard to say how those in power will address 2023 free agency. This will depend on whether it’s Steve Wilks or someone else becoming Matt Rhule’s long-term successor as head coach, which won’t be decided until the New Year as team owner David Tepper looks to get things right finally.

Money is also tight where the Panthers are concerned despite some extra flexibility after trading Christian McCaffrey and Robbie Anderson. Additional sacrifices will be needed and it’s highly likely that contract restructures probably come to light given the ongoing trend of teams continuously kicking the can down the road.

It promises to be an interesting few months ahead. Carolina should also be working on extensions for crucial personnel including Brian Burns, Jeremy Chinn, Bradley Bozeman, and Matt Ioannidis, which only decreases their chances of being major players in free agency.

With that in mind, here are four early free agents the Panthers should monitor that could be within their price range.

Free-Agent No. 1

Carolina Panthers
(Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports) Robert Tonyan /

Carolina Panthers should monitor Robert Tonyan

Finding better production from the tight end position is a necessity for the Carolina Panthers. Ian Thomas and Tommy Tremble might be accomplished blockers, but they offer very little from a pass-catching standpoint and this is something the front office must address as a matter of urgency.

One player that represents a significant upgrade is Robert Tonyan. Things aren’t going according to plan for the Green Bay Packers in 2022, so they might look to rid themselves of veterans and get younger pieces around quarterback Aaron Rodgers in one last-ditch attempt to galvanize the NFL MVP’s career.

Tonyan is a big body with dependability across the middle or in the red zone. Something the Panthers have lacked from their tight ends since Greg Olsen was at his peak.