4 Carolina Panthers free agents to extend on the cheap in 2024

The new regime needs to find value in free agency this year.

Troy Hill
Troy Hill / Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports
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Carolina Panthers should extend Ihmir Smith Marsette

After showing out for the Kansas City Chiefs during their preseason engagements, Ihmir Smith-Marsette thought he'd done enough to make the 53-man roster. The explosive playmaker did end up making the grade, just not where he thought.

The Carolina Panthers got in before anyone else, trading for Smith-Marsette before his release. This cost nothing more than a seventh-round pick swap for a player with undoubted promise just waiting for the right spot.

Smith-Marsette found chances limited aside from returning kicks under Frank Reich. The former fifth-round selection out of Iowa got the chance to showcase his talent once Thomas Brown got a little more creative after the head coach became surplus to requirements. It was a small sample size, but his production caught fans' attention.

When speaking to FanSided at Radio Row in Las Vegas ahead of the Super Bowl, Smith-Marsette declared his desire to stick around. He's a restricted free agent, which means the Panthers could tender him and match any offer that comes in from elsewhere.

This is a tricky predicament for Dan Morgan and Brandt Tilis to navigate. Keeping Smith-Marsette around - even on a short-term deal - would allow him to carve a bigger role for himself within Dave Canales' offense. He's an elusive, versatile piece that is ready to take that next step. Having previous chemistry with quarterback Bryce Young also helps.