6 free-agent quarterbacks the Carolina Panthers could sign in 2023

(Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports) Carson Wentz
(Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports) Carson Wentz /
4 of 6
Carolina Panthers
(Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports) Marcus Mariota /

Carolina Panthers could sign Marcus Mariota

The Atlanta Falcons made an expected move shortly before the NFL Scouting Combine when they released Marcus Mariota. A move that saves them $12 million in cap space and sees their available funds surge to just over $65 million for good measure.

This should put them in a position to be major players in free agency. Something that increases the urgency for the Carolina Panthers if they want to secure NFC South supremacy in 2023.

Perhaps examining Mariota’s potential as a backup behind any rookie quarterback could enter Carolina’s train of thought. While the former Oregon star might never live up to the level expected of a No. 2 overall selection, his mobility, and overall athleticism mean he could be a capable No. 2.

Mariota’s filled this role well before with the Las Vegas Raiders. This got him another chance to start in Atlanta, but it was clear from pretty early on that things weren’t going to work out thanks to poor performance and injury problems.

Carolina could offer Mariota a career lifeline as a bridge option or primary backup. Although Matt Corral is going to fight with all he has to silence his doubters and force his way into Frank Reich’s plans.

Based on Mariota’s production last season, this represents a gamble. One that could see the Panthers explore alternative options when push comes to shove.