4 Carolina Panthers role players on course for extensions in 2023

(Photo by Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images) Sam Franklin
(Photo by Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images) Sam Franklin /
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Carolina Panthers
(Photo by Harry How/Getty Images) Cory Littleton /

Cory Littleton – Carolina Panthers LB

There wasn’t much expected of Cory Littleton when he joined the Carolina Panthers in free agency. The former Washington star’s down year with the Las Vegas Raiders in 2021 didn’t leave many reasons for encouragement, but reuniting with former college teammate Shaq Thompson has brought a newfound sense of life into his overall performance levels.

Littleton’s contribution to an ever-improving Panthers defense cannot be ignored. He excels in coverage and even made a few crucial plays against the run before going out with an unfortunate injury in Week 11 at the Baltimore Ravens.

In just 37 percent of the team’s defensive snaps, Littleton’s attained 37 tackles, 0.5 sacks, two passes defended, one quarterback hit, and two pressures. He’s missed just two tackles, is conceding a lowly 81.7 passer rating when targeted, and currently boasts a 70.1 grade from Pro Football Focus as a result of his efforts.

Hopefully, for the player and the Panthers, Littleton can get back into the lineup after their bye week and continue making his presence felt. Considering the questions surrounding many within the linebacking room, then it might be worth the Panthers hanging onto him in the short-term as a core rotational piece.

And who knows, he might end up becoming a starter depending on who comes into the fold.