3 Carolina Panthers role players entering career-defining seasons in 2024

Ihmir Smith-Marsette
Ihmir Smith-Marsette / Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports
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K'Lavon Chaisson - Carolina Panthers OLB

Losing Brian Burns, Frankie Luvu, and Yetur Gross-Matos leaves the Carolina Panthers facing significant questions at the edge rushing spot. This unit looks devoid of starting-caliber quality or sufficient depth. That's a dangerous combination for defensive coordinator Ejiro Evero to navigate during his second season with the franchise.

Jadeveon Clowney and D.J. Wonnum could be a productive starting tandem. Both have suffered injury problems throughout their careers. Neither could be classed as an elite pass-rushing presence. The cupboard is relatively bare aside from that.

One of the more surprising additions came in free agency. The Panthers signed K'Lavon Chaisson to a one-year deal that could be worth up to $2.5 million in incentives. That raised more than a few eyebrows considering his lack of production since arriving in the NFL as a first-round pick out of LSU.

Chaisson didn't look like a great scheme fit with the Jacksonville Jaguars. He lacked the explosiveness typically associated with productive NFL pass-rushers. Five sacks in four seasons tells its own story and it came as no shock to see the player not get another deal.

This is a last-chance saloon situation for Chaisson. Skipping voluntary workouts when almost everyone else showed up was a bad look. Working out alone is well within any player's right early in the offseason, but Dave Canales wanted people in the building to avoid further complications down the line.

He was around for Carolina's mandatory minicamp but didn't catch the eye much according to those in attendance. Chaisson's got some believers on the coaching staff and in the front office. That won't be enough to win over fans and prove why he was such a highly-touted prospect once upon a time.

Chaisson will make the 53-man roster barring any drastic setback. He might even force his way into a core rotational piece given the lack of dependable alternatives. What comes after that is down to the player.