4 Caroilina Panthers free agents who could be forced into retirement in 2024

Could the end be near for these Carolina Panthers free agents?

Gabe Jackson
Gabe Jackson / Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports
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DeShawn Williams - Carolina Panthers DL

DeShawn Williams' story is a fantastic one. The defensive lineman was on the proverbial scrap heap working at Amazon when another call came to galvanize his NFL career. After failing to make a 53-man roster previously, he wasn't going to waste what would probably have been his final chance to carve out a role for himself in the pros.

His road to redemption began with four games for the Cincinnati Bengals. This was enough for the Denver Broncos to take a chance on Williams, who enjoyed a career year under Ejiro Evero's guidance in 2022. When the respected coach became Carolina Panthers defensive coordinator, a move back to familiar surroundings for the former Clemson college star swiftly followed.

Williams signed a one-year deal and ended up playing 44 percent of the team's defensive snaps. As Derrick Brown thrived opposite him on Evero's 3-4 defensive front, the veteran struggled to make a consistent impression.

There were fleeting moments of promise from Williams, but no more than that. The need for additional quality on the defensive front is glaring and this seems like a good draft to find long-term options. What that means for his future in free agency is debatable, but the Panthers could take this opportunity to start fresh and deem him surplus to requirements.

Evero sticking around might improve his chances. But if the Panthers look elsewhere, a situation could emerge where the phone stops ringing entirely.