Grading the Carolina Panthers first five moves of 2023 free agency

(Philip G. Pavely-USA TODAY Sports) Vonn Bell
(Philip G. Pavely-USA TODAY Sports) Vonn Bell /
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Carolina Panthers
(Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports) Vonn Bell /

Carolina Panthers signed Vonn Bell (S)

  • Three-year deal: $22.5 million ($13 million guaranteed)

Considering how Ejiro Evero runs his defense, having difference-makers across the secondary is vital. Something the Carolina Panthers were lacking thanks to inconsistent performers and influential figures like Donte Jackson facing a significant spell on the sidelines.

There is also the Jeremy Chinn situation and where the athletic presence is best suited. After the Panthers agreed to a deal with Vonn Bell, it looks like the former second-round pick will be moving closer to the line of scrimmage, which is welcome news in no uncertain terms.

Bell is a swiss-army knife on the backend that can do it all. He is a heavy hitter, a strong communicator, and has no trouble excelling in coverage as demonstrated by his 64.0 passer rating allowed when targeted in 2022.

The Cincinnati Bengals lost both starting safeties to the NFC South after Jessie Bates III joined the Atlanta Falcons. Bell brings leadership – he was a team captain – and is only 28 years old, so the Panthers are getting the one-time Ohio State standout for his prime years.

Grade: A

This is a win-win on multiple fronts. Carolina adds another physical, athletic weapon to their safety options and the signing will also give Chinn the freedom to be instinctive and become the primary playmaker for Ejiro’s defense anywhere on the field.