Panthers News: Ikem Ekwonu, Bryce Young, DeAndre Hopkins and the Blueprint

Ikem Ekwonu
Ikem Ekwonu / Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports
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Analyst calls on Carolina Panthers to sign DeAndre Hopkins

The shockwaves are still reverberating from the Arizona Cardinals' decision to release All-Pro wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins after failing to find a trade partner. Now that he's free to choose his next destination, there should be a long line of suitors looking to attain such a high-caliber performer.

Given the amount of salary-cap space and the need for a legitimate No. 1 pass-catcher after trading D.J. Moore to the Chicago Bears, the Carolina Panthers have been among the teams strongly linked with Hopkins. A move that would also bring the South Carolina native and former Clemson star home heading into his career twilight.

When the news of Hopkins' release became public, ESPN's respected analyst Mina Kimes named the Panthers as one of the teams that should aggressively pursue the veteran. Others mentioned were the Detroit Lions, Dallas Cowboys, New England Patriots, Atlanta Falcons, and Indianapolis Colts.

While the Panthers would benefit greatly from having Hopkins in a wide receiver room that's undergone great change throughout the offseason, the player might not see this as a viable destination. He wants the chance to contend and play with one of the more proven quarterbacks around the league, which makes Carolina a tough sell if general manager Scott Fitterer did put in a call.

Something should become concrete for the wideout next week given his credentials. Fitterer is known for being in on every deal, so it'll be interesting to see if he throws Carolina's hat in the ring.