7 free-agent running backs the Carolina Panthers could sign in 2023

(Mark Konezny-USA TODAY Sports) Devin Singletary
(Mark Konezny-USA TODAY Sports) Devin Singletary /
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Carolina Panthers
(Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports) Jerick McKinnon /

Carolina Panthers could sign Jerick McKinnon

As the Kansas City Chiefs have shown, having a lot of talented running backs on your roster is no bad thing. While the Carolina Panthers are not the Super Bowl champions, having a versatile and deep room helps with continuity at the position and forces defenses to gameplan for any backfield presence that is active on game day.

Could Frank Reich go in this direction? It is hard to tell. However, having a true passing down running back on the roster would allow for the team’s next starter, whether it’s a rookie or not, to settle into the offense quicker.

I am unsure of the likelihood that Jerick McKinnon returns with the defending champions. If he doesn’t, I like the idea of him in black and blue.

McKinnon was a very productive pass catcher in the backfield with 56 catches, 512 receiving yards, and nine touchdowns. As a veteran who’s been to and won a Super Bowl, his experience would be a boost to the Panthers’ youth on offense.

At 30 years old, McKinnon is at the age where running backs begin their steep decline. Thankfully, he has very little tread on his tires and could be looking for a potential starting gig elsewhere.

I could see him fulfilling that role in Carolina. Even though Chuba Hubbard did show growth as a pass-catcher during the 2022 season – his second as an NFL performer.

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