Diontae Johnson's immediate intent should thrill Carolina Panthers fans

Diontae Johnson
Diontae Johnson / Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports

Diontae Johnson's immediate intentions should thrill Carolina Panthers fans after his trade from the Pittsburgh Steelers.

The Carolina Panthers wasted no time in putting better pieces around Bryce Young this offseason. Those in power spared no expense to find two new starting offensive guards capable of providing consistent protection in front of the quarterback. They also managed to pick up a dynamic wide receiver via trade to further increase optimism of a potential bounce-back campaign.

This came at the expense of defensive pieces, but the Panthers have to maximize Young's rookie contract over the next two or three seasons. Failing the No. 1 overall selection in the 2023 NFL Draft as they did last year is not an option. Securing the services of an elite route-runner such as Diontae Johnson is a good place to start.

Carolina sent cornerback Donte Jackson - who was set to be released - and a sixth-round pick to the Pittsburgh Steelers for Johnson and a seventh-rounder. This is the definition of a low-risk, high-reward pickup despite his declining numbers. The player's ability to create separation consistently is something the Panthers lacked last season aside from veteran Adam Thielen, who was the only one capable of giving Young a genuine option in the passing game.

Diontae Johnson wants to help Bryce Young thrive

Johnson has one clear intention in mind based on comments via the team's website. This, above all else, centers on developing chemistry with his new quarterback and doing everything possible to ensure his second campaign goes much better than his first.

"I feel like I can help Bryce [Young] out a lot. I mean, and I know it's going to take time, but I just got to have patience. I know things aren't going to be smooth just out the gate. (But) I kind of know like what to expect. Start getting this chemistry together. As a receiver, I would say, obviously, you want the ball. But just (getting) that timing down and then actually knowing when the quarterback is going to release the ball and him knowing where you going to be at, that's a big thing. I feel like that's when you know, like on certain routes, like you can tell like they, they in rhythm."

Diontae Johnson via Panthers.com

This should thrill Panthers fans. Seeing Young let down by his receivers and beaten up significantly during a rookie year to forget became an ongoing frustration. It was a damning indictment of Scott Fitterer's recruitment and a coaching staff who were stubborn in their schematic concepts rather than playing to the signal-caller's strengths.

Young should have played better, that's not up for discussion either. But completely ignoring the mitigating circumstances attached to his demise is short-sighted and unfair in equal measure. The Panthers have begun changing this to the point that if Johnson shines, the offensive line improves, and additional reinforcements at the skill positions arrive, there will be no more excuses.

Johnson also comes to the Panthers with a point to prove. He was cast aside in Pittsburgh and made his frustrations known about the offense's failings under Matt Canada. This is also a contract year for the wideout, so there is plenty of incentive to get back to something like the Pro Bowl-caliber production he accomplished in 2021.

Easier said than done, but Dave Canales will have a plan on how to get the best out of Johnson. The compensation was minimal, especially considering how much this could benefit Young if the pair hit it off immediately.

More is needed. But this trade - unlike most made by the previous regime - comes with significant intrigue attached.