4 second-level free agents the Carolina Panthers could sign in 2023

D.J. Chark
D.J. Chark / Kirthmon F. Dozier / USA TODAY NETWORK
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Carolina Panthers
Mecole Hardman / Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

Carolina Panthers could sign Mecole Hardman

This one almost looks too obvious. The Carolina Panthers are in desperate need of assistance at the wide receiver position and Mecole Hardman is searching for somewhere to become a No. 1 or No. 2 option. 

Hardman had his injury struggles last season but was one of Patrick Mahomes' favorite targets when on the field. The wideout has soft hands, can take the top off of any defense with outstanding speed, and also boasts the route-running prowess capable of assisting over intermediate routes. 

After D.J. Chark left without a deal on Friday, the Panthers should seriously consider the possibility of Hardman. This move would give their rookie quarterback a shot in the arm and also open up space for other skill-position players to do damage. 

While durability is a potential concern with Hardman, there are substantial benefits to bringing the former second-round pick out of Georgia on board. After playing second or third fiddle to the likes of Tyreek Hill and Travis Kelce in Kansas City, he should jump at the chance of becoming a prominent feature within Frank Reich's offense. 

If Hardman comes to Carolina, stays on the field, and seizes the moment, then this could be the signing of the offseason. One that would mean there will be few excuses for someone like C.J. Stroud or Bryce Young during their rookie campaign in 2023.

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