5 Carolina Panthers players entering the last chance saloon in 2024

The stakes are high for these Carolina Panthers players.
Ikem Ekwonu
Ikem Ekwonu / Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports
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Shy Tuttle - Carolina Panthers DL

After an underwhelming first season with the Carolina Panthers, defensive lineman Shy Tuttle is getting another chance to prove his worth as a productive starter. Unless there is a drastic shift in course regarding the team's plans for free-agent signing A'Shawn Robinson, this will once again be at the nose tackle spot.

Tuttle didn't look particularly well suited to anchor duties last season. Having Robinson opposite Derrick Brown should help, but it's another defensive gamble from general manager Dan Morgan that could go either way.

Ejiro Evero seems confident in Tuttle's abilities with an improved supporting cast across his 3-4 base defensive front. The Panthers also avoided the obvious temptation to bring in competition during free agency or the 2024 NFL Draft, so the pressure is off in that sense.

Of course, there is still time for that to change given how Morgan plans to be aggressive on the waiver wire. Tuttle will get the first shot, but the leash is a lot shorter. Anything less than major improvements would see him become a primary cut candidate in 2025.

Jaycee Horn - Carolina Panthers CB

Nobody is disputing Jaycee Horn's talent. He's one of the league's best outside coverage cornerbacks when fit and firing on all cylinders. The Carolina Panthers were right to pick up his fifth-year option and are depending on him heavily to produce the goods next season.

However, there are concerns. Horn has missed a ton of football since entering the league as the No. 8 overall selection in 2021. A serious hamstring tear restricted the former South Carolina stud to six games last season, taking his tally to just 22 contests in three years. This has to change if the Panthers want to stand any chance of making improvements next time around.

The Panthers' cornerback room remains a significant need. If Horn suffers more complications on the health front, it'll be nothing short of catastrophic. He looks ready to rock based on early workouts, but his track record isn't great, to put it mildly.

Should Horn miss more time next season, it might be the tipping point for Carolina. Triggering his option not only provides extra financial flexibility before an extension but also allows them to potentially seek trade interest in the player if dependability remains an issue.

That's how high the stakes are for Horn in 2024.