4 extremely early free agents the Carolina Panthers should monitor in 2024

Montez Sweat
Montez Sweat / Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports
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Carolina Panthers should monitor Tee Higgins

Even though the Carolina Panthers made some decent additions to the wide receiver room after D.J. Moore was traded to the Chicago Bears, they are still missing a genuine No. 1 option. Terrace Marshall Jr. and Jonathan Mingo could emerge into this role over time, but some doubts remain heading into the 2023 campaign.

If nobody within the wideout room steps up and becomes a primary option for rookie quarterback Bryce Young, finding someone else next spring will be among the team's biggest priorities They can ill afford suspect pass-catching holding their prized signal-caller back, so spending big to bring in a marquee man into the building represents a realistic course of action.

Should the Panthers scour the free-agent market, then Tee Higgins should be atop the shortlist of options. The gifted player is looking for a lucrative deal from the Cincinnati Bengals after more than proving his worth in recent years, which hasn't arrived as yet despite two-straight 1,000-yard receiving seasons and 19 touchdowns since entering the league.

Higgins is a genuine No. 1 option that can take over a game when in the mood. However, the Bengals also have to pay quarterback Joe Burrow and wide receiver Ja'Marr Chase in the not-too-distant future - two deals with the potential to reset the market.

Just how much spare cash this would leave for Higgins and others remains to be seen. But the Panthers should be first on the phone to bring the former Clemson star back to familiar surroundings if he's allowed to leave.