Carolina Panthers statement signing is dream come true for Bryce Young

The Carolina Panthers landed a top free-agent offensive lineman.

Robert Hunt
Robert Hunt / Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports

Bryce Young's prayers were answered as the Carolina Panthers made a huge free-agent splash with the signing of Robert Hunt.

The Carolina Panthers have a significant amount of questions to answer this offseason. After delusions of championship challenges and dropping in a quarterback to take off, a two-win campaign that descended into complete disgrace followed. Dan Morgan was part of that front-office process, but he was promoted rather than removed from the equation like most in positions of power.

This heightened the need for Morgan to hit the ground running. The Panthers are light on salary-cap funds to throw around in free agency after placing the non-exclusive franchise tag on stud edge rusher Brian Burns, but they don't have to get under the cap until the new league year officially begins.

Besides, scared money doesn't make money.

According to reports, the Panthers were expected to be aggressive in their quest to find upgrades on their interior offensive line. Brady Christensen and Austin Corbett are serviceable but coming off long-term injuries. Carolina has also decided to part ways with starting center Bradley Bozeman, who didn't look suited to the blocking concepts set to be implemented by new head coach Dave Canales.

Placing everything around quarterback Bryce Young to ensure he bounces back from a rough rookie season is Carolina's primary objective. The Panthers invested a substantial amount - more than they initially envisaged - to land the signal-caller. Solidifying the protection and bolstering the skill positions is the only way this has a chance of reaping rewards.

Carolina Panthers help Bryce Young with Robert Hunt signing

Fans were approaching the legal tampering period with cautious optimism. Most are willing to give Morgan a chance. Others are skeptical, which is understandable in the circumstances.

It took longer than anticipated, but the Panthers pulled off a major coup.

According to Mike Garafolo from the NFL Network, the Panthers signed offensive guard Robert Hunt on a five-year, $100 million deal. This sent shockwaves through the fanbase and represented a serious move from the new regime for good measure.

Hunt was one of the top free-agent guards available. The former second-round pick missed some time through injury in 2023, but his production was stellar more often than not. This is a huge upgrade for the Panthers and one that is going to help Young enormously.

The Louisiana product accumulated 547 snaps on offense in 2023, giving up one sack and conceding two penalties en route to a sensational 77.1 grade from Pro Football Focus. Hunt excels in pass protection with eye-popping lateral movement and supreme technique. His core base is also strong enough to make a difference on running downs when called upon.

As first signings go, this couldn't have been much better for Morgan. Brandt Tilis' presence probably means the contract will be structured effectively enough to enable further moves. While $63 million guaranteed according to Jordan Schultz from the Bleacher Report is steep, the benefits could be incredible if stays clear of additional injury concerns.

What this means for Christensen and Corbett remains to be seen, but the Panthers couldn't sit on their hands and do nothing. Canales also stated there would be no emotional attachment to their roster building moving forward. If Hunt's arrival means demoting others, it's a small price to pay for progress.

Fans should be delighted with this acquisition. Hunt is only just entering his prime at 27 years old and is accomplished in all phases. It's the home-run hit Carolina's long-suffering support has been waiting for.

Much more is needed to drag the Panthers out of their current plight. Hunt is just the marquee arrival. Someone who looks more than capable of assisting Young in his quest to prove his doubters wrong next season and beyond.

And every fan should be thankful for that.