Analyst lauds Carolina Panthers GM Dan Morgan's trench upgrades

This could help enormously.
Dan Morgan
Dan Morgan / Jacob Kupferman/GettyImages

It's no secret that quarterback Bryce Young spent most of his rookie season running for his life behind an offensive line unfit for purpose. The Carolina Panthers saw steep regression and injury complications ravage the group - especially on the interior. Fixing it became new general manager Dan Morgan's top priority when free agency commenced.

Many fans waited anxiously to see how the Panthers would approach recruitment with minimal resources available. Morgan and Brandt Tilis moved money around effectively. This enabled them to acquire two new starting offensive guards at great expense to make the entire NFL sit up and take notice.

The Panthers kicked things off by signing Robert Hunt. He penned a four-year, $100 million deal with a $26.5 million signing bonus and $63 million guaranteed. This instantly upgrades the right guard spot and provides a level of accomplished protection that wasn't evident in 2023.

Carolina Panthers spent huge sums to strengthen their offensive line

Carolina wasn't done there. Dave Canales turned to Damien Lewis - someone he knows well from their time together on the Seattle Seahawks. Getting him into the building wasn't cheap - a four-year, $53 million contract and $26.25 million guaranteed enough to seal the agreement.

These tone-setting changes should help Young considerably. Couple this with Canales' presence and intent to run the football heavily, and Adam Rank from believes Morgan might be onto something with the impressive early moves made during his tenure at the helm.

"Last year, the [Carolina] Panthers offensive line struggled to protect [Bryce] Young, who was sacked 62 times (second most in the NFL behind Sam Howell). The team wasted no time in free agency bringing in some viable protection for the young quarterback. I’m telling you, bringing in [Dave] Canales and rebuilding the interior with veterans [Robert] Hunt and [Damien] Lewis were great moves by GM Dan Morgan."

Adam Rank,

Seeing is believing. But it would be an extreme disappointment if the Panthers' offensive line didn't improve next season thanks to the arrivals of Hunt and Lewis.

Much will depend on how Austin Corbett's transition to the center position goes. The Panthers are also counting on left tackle Ikem Ekwonu to bounce back after an underwhelming sophomore campaign where he admitted to getting a little complacent after a promising rookie year.

If Taylon Moton retains his supreme consistency and the newly acquired guards make a smooth transition, Carolina's offensive line could go from a weak link to an area of strength. Praise for Morgan would only grow if this scenario came to fruition.

They'll need some luck on the health front. Injuries decimated the unit last season, but the Panthers have improved depth to avoid similar complications this time around if one or two starting options miss time at any stage.

The job is far from finished, but Morgan is winning over even his harshest critics among the fanbase. At the same time, this team needs to demonstrate on-field growth in a competitive setting. Fans are not going to be fooled by offseason hope any longer.

There aren't many sure things when it comes to NFL recruitment. Signing Hunt and Lewis comes pretty close considering the dire need Carolina had in this area of the field.