4 free agents Carolina Panthers were wise to avoid in 2024

The Carolina Panthers were right not to sign these free agents.

Jonathan Greenard
Jonathan Greenard / Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports
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Carolina Panthers were wise to avoid Calvin Ridley

Bryce Young needs help. The quarterback can ill afford another season where the supporting cast around him fails to meet even modest expectations. Fortunately, this was also recognized by the Carolina Panthers if their early off-season moves are any indication.

There's been an immediate transition of investment from the defensive side onto offense. Ejiro Evero's starting unit looks almost unrecognizable as a result, which only raises the stakes further for Young during a critical Year 2 in a professional environment.

Finding better weapons in the passing game remains a priority. Many thought the Panthers might utilize free agency to bring in a big-name target with elite-level production. But it was clear from early on that wasn't going to be the case.

Instead of allocating a significant sum to someone like Calvin Ridley, the Panthers worked out a trade to bring Diontae Johnson in from the Pittsburgh Steelers. This comes with far less risk attached. If it doesn't work out, those in power can move on from the wideout in 2025.

Ridley got a four-year, $92 million deal from the Tennessee Titans despite an indifferent campaign with the Jacksonville Jaguars. Perhaps his new employers are banking on the wideout returning to the form he displayed before getting suspended for violating the league's gambling policy. That's no guarantee, so the Panthers were correct to look elsewhere given the money involved.