4 Carolina Panthers living on borrowed time after free agency upheaval

Cade Mays
Cade Mays / Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports
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D.J. Johnson - Carolina Panthers OLB

This might be a little harsh considering D.J. Johnson is one season into his professional career. But it's also worth remembering he's older than Brian Burns and the Carolina Panthers are adopting a business-first model without sentiment to their roster building under the new regime.

Trading up to select Johnson in the third round was a head-scratcher. It reeked of desperation as edge rushers began flying off their board. It was a reactionary move that had almost no chance of reaping immediate rewards. This was one of many reasons why previous general manager Scott Fitterer was removed from the equation.

Johnson offered almost nothing from a pass-rushing standpoint last season. He looked overawed and outmatched against NFL-caliber offensive linemen. The Oregon product fared a little better versus the run, but there is a monumental amount of work ahead for the player in pursuit of more involvement next time around.

Signing D.J. Wonnum and K'Lavon Chaisson could push Johnson further down the pecking order than ever depending on what other additions are sought by Dan Morgan. Johnson will be 26 years old during his sophomore NFL campaign in 2024. He's too old to be a development project. Unless the Panthers feel like they can count on the edge rusher, don't be surprised if they cut their losses entirely.