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 Montez Sweat

Finding consistency opposite Brian Burns from a pass-rushing standpoint is another big question mark heading into the 2023 season. The Carolina Panthers didn't invest much in strengthening their options during free agency or the draft, but that will change in no uncertain terms if those on the books cannot raise their respective performance levels next season.

Burns is the one alpha within the ranks and looks set to get a hefty contract from the Panthers before Week 1. If there is enough left over for a splash in free agency next spring, then keeping tabs on the developing situation between Montez Sweat and the Washington Commanders could be worth its weight in gold.

The former Mississippi State star has been a consistent performer since entering the league. But the Commanders made a mini-predicament for themselves by declining Chase Young's option - leaving both their starting defensive ends out of contract in 2024.

Sweat represents the more dependable option. Young is the wildcard - a once-generational prospect with phenomenal athletic gifts whose career has been derailed by injuries over the last two years.

Considering the money Washington has tied up in their stud defensive tackle tandem of Jonathan Allen and Daron Payne, it could be a straight fight between Young and Sweat for a new deal depending on who performs best next season. Whichever player is cast aside should warrant a call from the Panthers.