4 cost-effective free agents Carolina Panthers should sign before 2024 camp

The Carolina Panthers need more help.
Byron Pringle
Byron Pringle / Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports
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Carolina Panthers could sign Carlos Watkins

The Carolina Panthers tweaked their defensive front rather than undergo a substantial makeover this offseason. Dan Morgan picked up one primary upgrade in the form of A'Shawn Robinson. He promises to be a major asset against the run and a primary partner at the 3-4 defensive end position opposite Derrick Brown.

Shy Tuttle remains as the team's starting nose tackle. This is a gamble when one considers his indifferent performance levels last time around. Depth could also be an issue if the likes of LaBryan Ray and Nick Thurman don't make the strides needed.

The Panthers drafted Jaden Crumedy in the sixth round, but he's seen more as a development project than someone who could fill starting responsibilities immediately. Much will depend on how the aforementioned roster candidates impose themselves over the early stages of camp. If Dan Morgan sees fit, he could raise competition by acquiring someone with more experience if the right opportunity comes along.

Carlos Watkins could be an asset. He's been a solid if not spectacular performer throughout his career. The lineman also has enough versatility to fit in well with Ejiro Evero's creative 3-4 base scheme. That's always a solid foundation from which to build, but there's an injury red flag that warrants further investigation.

Watkins lasted two games with the Arizona Cardinals before going to season-ending injured reserve with a biceps complication that required surgery. There's been no real update on the player's progress publically. However, the Panthers can find out all they need to if Morgan sees this as a possible addition.

The former fourth-round pick would be making a return to somewhat familiar surroundings. Watkins starred at Clemson before taking his chances at the next level. This would smooth the transition to a different environment if the Panthers went down this route.

Watkins isn't the pure pass-rusher Carolina needs to bolster a potential problem position. But there's some merit to securing his services if everything checks out on the health front.