7 free-agent wide receivers the Carolina Panthers could sign in 2023

(Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports) Brandon Powell
(Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports) Brandon Powell /
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Carolina Panthers
(Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports) Mecole Hardman /

Carolina Panthers could sign Mecole Hardman

Mecole Hardman has the top-end speed to blow the roof off any defense and house just about any pass he catches. When he’s healthy, that is.

Injuries have been the biggest impediment to Hardman’s sustained success during his young career so far. However, there is no denying the threat he provides when on the field.

Registering only 25 receptions for 295 receiving yards last season, Hardman still caught four touchdown passes in the eight games he was able to play in 2022. Having Patrick Mahomes throwing to him obviously doesn’t hurt, either.

Hardman possesses the yards-after-catch ability that is so coveted in the NFL. The wideout averaged 11.9 yards per reception last season, with 6.6 yards coming after the catch while also registering a whopping 142.3 passer rating when targeted.

The former Georgia Bulldog did have two drops in 2022, which doesn’t seem alarming until you put that into context with him having only caught 25 passes. Dropped balls don’t seem to be an overwhelming concern for the speedster, but it’s worth noting that there is a real risk involved with him.

With Spotrac’s market value estimated at $10.3 million annually, Hardman still has plenty of room to grow and improve, as he’s still just shy of 25 years old. The talent is there for the fifth-year receiver, it just needs to coincide with the player’s ability to stay healthy and involved.