4 players the Carolina Panthers will miss the most in 2024

These departures will be sorely felt.
Brian Burns
Brian Burns / Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports
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Carolina Panthers will regret not signing Stephon Gilmore

At one point the Carolina Panthers had the best young cornerback in the league starting alongside one of the best cover presences of this generation. They also had a former first-rounder as a backup/slot option in their secondary.

Things look a lot different now.

Stephon Gilmore is one in a long list of players brought into the Panthers organization for a single-season rental before being let walk into continued elite play for nothing in return. That became the hallmark of Scott Fitterer's era in Carolina.

Gilmore was a solid piece for a mostly disappointing secondary during his tenure. He continued to be a reliable coverage asset against the NFL's best - even with the rest of the unit falling apart around him due to injury and poor play.

Now the Panthers are forced to watch him play for teams like the Dallas Cowboys and completely lock down the team when forced to compete against the elite corner. While Carolina doesn't exactly have the most talented wide receiver room in the league, it is still painful to watch them not even be able to get an inch of separation.

With the injury track record of Jaycee Horn and the unproven nature of Dane Jackson, the presence of an elite veteran like Gilmore would be invaluable for the security of always having a solid option on the outside. Without even touching on the leadership that he would provide.

There is nothing that points to the fact that Horn will stay healthy this season. The young player simply hasn't proven capable of this to date. If the star corner goes down, the fanbase is going to be looking to Gilmore and wondering what could have been should the team have done the right thing and given him the money he wanted when there was mutual interest between the two parties this offseason.

The Panthers could still reach an agreement with Gilmore, but this is becoming increasingly unlikely all things considered.