4 free-agent defensive ends the Carolina Panthers should target in 2023

(Photo by Cooper Neill/Getty Images) Dante Fowler Jr.
(Photo by Cooper Neill/Getty Images) Dante Fowler Jr. /
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Which defensive ends could the Carolina Panthers potentially target to put opposite Brian Burns in free agency? 

The nightmare rollercoaster 2022 season and the Matt Rhule era as a whole are finally over for the Carolina Panthers. The team can now start looking forward to a hopefully prosperous future under a star-studded new coaching staff.

One integral part of the Panthers’ future is Brian Burns. A rising star that has been dimmed somewhat by subpar performance on the opposite side of the defensive line.

That isn’t to say that Burns was bad or even took a step back in 2022. Far from it, in fact.

The young standout continues to improve with each year and opportunity given. However, one can only imagine how different things would have been if there had been a suitable running mate on the team.

Haason Reddick was that piece for the Panthers in 2021 but was allowed to walk with hopes of Yetur Gross-Matos filling that void. We all saw how that went.

Reddick was part of the best pass rush in the NFL by a large margin while Gross-Matos contributed only a measly 2.5 sacks in 17 starts. Hardly an even swap and it showed in every big moment.

We can hope that the team has finally learned its lesson by letting superstar talents walk in hopes that younger, and cheaper, alternatives will do the trick. Only for it to blow up in their face time and time again.

So with that said, how can the team go about fixing that in an offseason full of questions at arguably more important positions? Here are four defensive ends the Panthers might target in free agency this spring.