Carolina Panthers' regrettable departure already making waves elsewhere

Frankie Luvu wasted no time in making his presence felt elsewhere.
Dan Morgan
Dan Morgan / Jared C. Tilton/GettyImages

Dan Morgan was forced to make some difficult decisions throughout his first offseason as general manager. The Carolina Panthers parted ways with some established veterans as part of their drastic revamp. Whether this was not having their contracts extended, released ahead of time, or traded, there is a different look to the roster as the franchise aims to go with the right blend of youth and experience.

Some players seemingly couldn't wait to get away. Jeremy Chinn made no secret of his desire for a fresh start after he became an afterthought within Ejiro Evero's creative 3-4 base defense. Perhaps more surprisingly, linebacker Frankie Luvu wasn't sold on Carolina's ambitious project and took his chances elsewhere.

The Panthers made Luvu an offer to stay after the fan favorite became an integral piece on and off the field. However, the allure of being deployed in Dan Quinn's defensive concepts saw him spurn Carolina's advances to join the Washington Commanders on a three-year, $31 million deal with an $11.5 million signing bonus and $19.12 million guaranteed.

This was a blow to the Panthers. Luvu emerged as the heart and soul of their defense. He was one of the team's most consistent performers and evolved into a borderline elite force along the way. Morgan tried to retain his services, but the former undrafted free agent had his heart set on a new challenge.

Frankie Luvu making waves after Carolina Panthers' departure

Looking at the impact Luvu's made since joining the Commanders in a short space of time, this only adds to the sense of regret he didn't see a future for himself in Carolina. Washington's defensive coordinator Joe Whitt Jr. lauded the player, claiming that he's the epitome of what he's trying to build in the nation's capital.

"What's not to like about him [Frankie Luvu]? He is the heartbeat of what competitive, hard-nosed defensive football is about. I remember he said, "Coach, tell me what you want me to do and I'll do it." And he goes as hard as he can. I love that. He's just a fun guy to be around and a fun guy to coach."

Frankie Luvu via Riggo's Rag

Nobody who's watched Luvu's emergence over the last three years is surprised by his smooth transition to a different environment.

He's an inspirational leader and takes nothing for granted. Luvu rose from obscurity to be discussed among the league's best linebackers. That's a healthy foundation from which to build as the Commanders look to restore a sense of pride to their football operation in 2024.

Would the Panthers be better off with Luvu around? There is no doubt about that whatsoever.

But Luvu cashed in when he had the chance. If Morgan and Brandt Tilis thought his demands were an overpay, they had every right to seek alternatives.

The Panthers are moving forward with Josey Jewell and Shaq Thompson as their starting middle linebacker tandem. Both are solid performers, but they don't have that spark and energetic instinct Luvu brings to the table.

Of all the losses from the Panthers this offseason, Luvu's might be the most sorely felt when it's all said and done. Brian Burns also left a gaping hole, but this is the direction Morgan chose for good or bad.

The Panthers couldn't keep a player that didn't want to be here. That won't stop fans from casting envious glances in Luvu's direction if he takes another step forward under Quinn's guidance next season.