5 baffling free-agent decisions made by the Carolina Panthers in 2024

What are some of the worst roster decisions made by Carolina Panthers general manager Dan Morgan during 2024 free agency?
K'Lavon Chaisson
K'Lavon Chaisson / Nathan Ray Seebeck-USA TODAY Sports
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Carolina Panthers released Vonn Bell

As previously mentioned, the Carolina Panthers released several established veterans shortly before free agency. Dan Morgan and Brandt Tilis decided to rip the band-aid off, taking short-term financial hits to provide future flexibility in the coming years. It's a bold strategy, but one those in power believe is the best way to get this once-proud franchise back into contention.

Perhaps the most disappointing release was Vonn Bell. The productive safety had some problems with injuries last season, but he made a lasting contribution when on the field. Unfortunately, this wasn't enough to get a reprieve as part of Morgan's rebuilding efforts.

Bell managed 69 tackles in just 13 games, which was impressive. He also gave up a 79.2 passer rating when targets came in his direction. Therefore, it came as no surprise to see the former second-round pick out of Ohio State find work quickly after the Panthers made him surplus to requirements.

As it turned out, the Cincinnati Bengals acted swiftly to bring Bell back to the place where he spent three seasons of his career from 2020-22. This instant reunion should provide a significant upgrade on Nick Scott, who didn't shine in 2023 and was moved on with little fanfare attached.

The Panthers signed Jordan Fuller to replace Bell. It'll be worth watching both closely when competitive action resumes.

Carolina Panthers couldn't keep Frankie Luvu

This one comes with an asterisk attached. The Carolina Panthers made an effort to keep Frankie Luvu around. They reportedly made him an extension offer following another phenomenal campaign from the linebacker. Unfortunately, the player opted to take his chances elsewhere.

Had the Panthers worked something out with Luvu during the season, things might have been different. The previous regime opted to wait and Carolina eventually paid the price. The former undrafted free agent signed a lucrative deal with the Washington Commanders thanks in no small part to his potential for further improvements within Dan Quinn's scheme.

This will be a significant loss to the Panthers on and off the field. Luvu was a dynamic playmaker in all phases who also became one of the team's locker room leaders along the way. He's also got the sort of mentality that Morgan is looking to implement across the franchise, so to see him leave for pastures new was disappointing.

The Panthers signed Josey Jewell as a replacement. This cannot be seen as anything other than a downgrade, although his experience with Ejiro Evero might help smooth the transition from the Denver Broncos.

Luvu will thrive under Quinn in Washington. The previous decision-makers should have recognized his importance and got something worked out well ahead of time. They didn't, and Morgan was always facing an uphill battle to keep the player around.