4 Carolina Panthers players who could be one-and-done in 2023
By Dean Jones
Damien Wilson – Carolina Panthers LB
Luke Kuechly’s shock retirement following the 2019 campaign to preserve his long-term health is still being felt by the Carolina Panthers. The perennial All-Pro’s influence might never be matched again, but those who’ve occupied the middle linebacker position since just haven’t met the standards befitting a productive second-level defender.
The signing of Damien Wilson in free agency is yet another name to this list. His production with the Jacksonville Jaguars in 2021 left reasons for encouragement, but consistency has been a real issue and the player hasn’t been involved in any capacity over the last few games on defense.
This is a clear indication of how disappointed Steve Wilks and his coaching staff are with Wilson’s performance levels. The former college star at Minnesota has gone six games without a defensive snap, which makes him a primary cut candidate with one year remaining on his deal.
Releasing Wilson ahead of time comes with a cap saving of $3.61 million and $1.07 million in dead money. Considering how little the one-time Super Bowl winner with the Kansas City Chiefs has been involved of late, it appears to be a no-brainer.
Addressing a long-term solution at middle linebacker should be among the Panthers’ top priorities next spring. And there are some intriguing prospects emerging from the college ranks that could assist immediately.