5 free agents Panthers don’t want to see join NFC South rivals in 2023

(Katie Stratman-USA TODAY Sports) Jessie Bates III
(Katie Stratman-USA TODAY Sports) Jessie Bates III /
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Carolina Panthers
(Robert Scheer/The Indianapolis Star via IMAGN Content Services) Yannick Ngakoue /

Carolina Panthers don’t want to see Yannick Ngakoue

Arguably the best pass-rusher available in free agency, Yannick Ngakoue has been a consistent threat on every team he’s played on. And there is no reason he can’t continue that form for the foreseeable future.

Similar to Brian Burns, he possesses freakish athletic ability off the edge. Ngakoue would pose a threat to Taylor Moton and Ikem Ekwonu if he were to sign for one of the Carolina Panthers’ rivals within the NFC South.

Despite playing on a bad Indianapolis Colts team in 2022, Ngakoue still posted 9.5 sacks. The defensive end has never had less than eight sacks in a season over his entire career.

That kind of consistent production off the edge is valuable. On a better team, he can more easily be a double-digit sack artist.

The Panthers may be a suitor for Ngakoue in the off-season, making a rival signing him that much more devastating. Losing a big-time free agent is hard enough, but having to play against him twice a season would be an even tougher pill to swallow.

The Maryland product played under Frank Reich for a handful of games in 2022 and knows his offensive system. That would make game-planning against Ngakoue and the team he plays on more challenging in 2023.

Ngakoue is an up-and-coming pass rusher, and at only 27 years old, he will continue being a problem for NFL offenses over the next handful of years. Carolina hopes they do not have to face him twice a season in the NFC South.