3 free agents that could immediately start for the Carolina Panthers in 2023

Marcus Peters
Marcus Peters / Jim Dedmon-USA TODAY Sports
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Carolina Panthers could sign DeAndre Hopkins

This is something of a pipedream given there's been no reported contact between the Carolina Panthers and wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins following his release by the Arizona Cardinals. However, there is no doubt whatsoever that the former All-Pro would be the No. 1 option next season from the moment he got into the building.

Hopkins is coming to the tail-end of his playing career, but his talent remains exceptional. He is almost unplayable when fit and firing on all cylinders, causing opposing cornerbacks nightmares with slick route running, vice-like hands, and a wide catch radius that makes the Clemson product almost impossible to completely thwart.

The Panthers gave up D.J. Moore to secure the No. 1 overall selection in the 2023 NFL Draft. Adam Thielen, D.J. Chark, and Jonathan Mingo were brought in to compensate and the team is also expecting a breakout year from Terrace Marshall Jr. after a strong end to the previous campaign.

Carolina is likely adopting a committee approach until someone demonstrates true No 1 alpha qualities. Of course, these are traits Hopkins possesses in abundance, but there doesn't appear to be much in the way of interest from the Panthers considering he's already met with the Tennessee Titans and New England Patriots so far.

Hopkins also hails from the area, which might mean something. And there's no telling what such a prolific performer would do for Bryce Young's crucial transition from college to the pros.