4 boldest pre-draft moves from the Carolina Panthers 2024 offseason

Dan Morgan hasn't been shy about going bold this offseason.
Diontae Johnson
Diontae Johnson / Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports
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Carolina Panthers traded for Diontae Johnson

One of the biggest priorities this offseason centered on making life easier for quarterback Bryce Young. The Carolina Panthers have to maximize their significant investment in the signal-caller by any means necessary. Anything less was going to be detrimental to the team's chances of making progress next season.

Adam Thielen was the only reliable pass-catcher for Young to depend upon as a rookie. This resulted in the veteran wide receiver going over 1,000 receiving yards, but it's not sustainable considering his age and decreasing explosiveness. Something general manager Dan Morgan addressed by making a daring trade for Diontae Johnson from the Pittsburgh Steelers.

This was a low-risk, high-reward pickup by the Panthers. It cost them nothing more than a late-round pick swap and cornerback Donte Jackson, who was going to be released before the transaction became official. Johnson left under a cloud, but he's an exceptional route-runner who knows how to get open - something Carolina lacked aside from Thielen during Young's first season.

Johnson manipulates opposing cornerbacks extremely well at the top of his routes. There's a sharpness to his cuts and his body control allows him to make tough catches. More is needed - especially if Jonathan Mingo doesn't develop - but this acquisition was a positive step in the right direction.

There are some character concerns. Johnson can become petulant when targets aren't frequent. There were also reports of a locker room bust-up last season that meant Mike Tomlin almost gave away a former Pro Bowl-caliber performer when the Panthers came calling. This needs to be managed carefully by head coach Dave Canales, but the early signs are positive.

If Johnson and Young can hit it off, the better Carolina's chances for offensive growth will be. There's plenty of extra motivation from the player's perspective after being cast aside by the Steelers. He's also in a contract year, so making a lasting contribution could see a lucrative deal come his way when the campaign concludes.