How can free-agent signing Vonn Bell help the Carolina Panthers in 2023?

(Albert Cesare/The Enquirer via IMAGN Content Services) Vonn Bell
(Albert Cesare/The Enquirer via IMAGN Content Services) Vonn Bell /

How can free-agent signing Vonn Bell help the Carolina Panthers during their important campaign of transition under Frank Reich in 2023?

The Carolina Panthers have adopted the spend wisely approach throughout the opening stages of free agency. They put themselves in a good position by restructuring contracts ahead of time, with the trade to No. 1 overall in the 2023 NFL Draft something that brings an extra, exciting level of intrigue to an important offseason.

Perhaps the biggest name to join the ranks so far is Vonn Bell. The veteran safety is a proven NFL performer with bags of experience under his belt, which also included a Super Bowl appearance with the Cincinnati Bengals after a memorable run to the AFC Championship in 2021.

Bell is heading into his prime years and promises to be a significant acquisition for new defensive coordinator Ejiro Evero. His communication at the backend will be vital and the one-time Ohio State standout is a factor in all three phases to further enhance his influence.

What can Vonn Bell bring to the Carolina Panthers in 2023?

This gives Evero additional options across the secondary. Especially when it comes to Jeremy Chinn, who could be switched closer to the line of scrimmage where he starred as a rookie in 2020.

Although this seems likely, Evero’s 3-4 base system is extremely creative, so adding another weapon like Bell only increases the options available. He’s a hard hitter, can get after the football instinctively, and has improved his coverage consistently in an impressive fashion over the last few years.

Carolina also got a pretty good deal for Bell all things considered. According to Spotrac, the player signed a three-year, $22.5 million deal with a $5.83 million signing bonus and $13 million guaranteed.

Here’s how the money is split year-on-year:

  • 2023: $3.11 million cap number
  • 2024: $10.94 million cap number
  • 2025: $8.44 million cap number

This is very reasonable considering what Bell can bring to the Panthers. His expected tandem with Xavier Woods has the chance to be prolific and Chinn’s prowess to roam the field and make plays is another eye-catching element of this signing that cannot be overlooked.

There is a lot of hard work ahead for the Panthers, especially at the skill positions after shipping D.J. Moore to the Chicago Bears. However, their defense looks pretty sound with Shy Tuttle also coming into the fold, providing they add speed at the linebacker spot and get themselves another capable edge rusher to put on the defensive line.

Bell’s been to the very top and his experience as team captain with the Bengals is sure to bring a superb leadership presence on and off the field. Couple this with established leaders such as Bradley Bozeman and Shaq Thompson sticking around, and there are no excuses for this defense not to become among the league’s most dominant with Evero leading the charge.

No matter who comes in between now and when free agency winds down, Bell could be Carolina’s best signing when push comes to shove. A player with high-caliber performance levels that will allow others on defense to thrive.

Simply put, this is a win-win for all parties. And hopefully, it’s another vital chess piece ahead of a memorable first campaign at the helm for head coach Frank Reich.

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