Carolina Panthers urged not to splash the cash on free-agent wide receivers

Money is tight in Carolina this offseason...

Tee Higgins
Tee Higgins / Kareem Elgazzar/The Enquirer / USA TODAY

The Carolina Panthers are looking to surround Bryce Young with help. One writer believes spending big on the wide receiver position would be a mistake.

Fans are clamoring for the Carolina Panthers to make some big splashes this offseason. They are tired of being the running joke. They want a team to be proud of once again. After so long in the proverbial NFL wilderness, they want to see results immediately.

Nobody in their right mind should expect a 2-15 team to win the Super Bowl the next year. The Panthers aren't in the best position financially and don't have a first-round pick following their trade-up to acquire quarterback Bryce Young. We live in an instant gratification world, but this rebuilding project might take time.

Speculation continues about the Panthers going after a marquee veteran free agent or someone like Brandon Aiyuk via trade. Mike Evans and Tee Higgins are among the names coming up. Calvin Ridley is another ambitious target who represents another potential upgrade on anything Carolina has in its wide receiver room.

Carolina Panthers must prioritize the offensive line

This is nice to think about and could assist Young enormously. However, Schuyler Callihan from Sports Illustrated poured cold water on any lofty ambitions fans might have during a critical period of recruitment in the coming weeks. The reasoning centered on how the Panthers are being perceived league-wide and the need for investment along the offensive line.

"If the newly constructed front office wants to spend serious money, it's going to be up front, ensuring they can protect their franchise quarterback. They can't afford to have Bryce Young go through another season of being sacked 60+ times or else this experiment isn't going to last very long and then they are right back to square one. The second part of this is the interest just isn't going to be there from top-tier free agents. I mean, let's be honest. If you were in their shoes, would you be willing to sign a multi-year deal in Carolina during your prime or toward the end of your career? Not with what we've seen over the last handful of years, no. Someone get Adam Thielen on the phone. He loves the organization and wants to be a part of this thing, but I'm sure if he knew what would happen in year one, he'd second guess his decision."

Schuyler Callihan, Sports Illustrated

Some of the team's long-suffering fanbase might not like it, but this is the current predicament until further notice. The Panthers need to go about business differently. There needs to be the right balance between power moves and building gradually. There also needs to be a consensus, unified approach to sustained growth.

Keeping Young upright should be the primary objective. Having shiny new toys in the passing game is all well and good. It will count for nothing if the protection in front of the former Alabama star isn't sufficient.

Of course, if Brandt Tilis can work his magic, going after a prolific performer in free agency becomes more realistic. Managing finances and working contracts became his specialty during his successful time with the Kansas City Chiefs. Team owner David Tepper is banking on the new front-office figure having a similar impact in Carolina.

There should be wideouts further down the free-agent pecking order that could also help. It's also worth remembering that this is one of the deepest wide receiver draft classes in recent memory for the Panthers to take advantage of.

My advice? Expect the worst and hope for the best. After all, the bar left by those who came before isn't exactly high.