Mismanaged Carolina Panthers departure tipped for 2024 resurgence

Ejiro Evero
Ejiro Evero / Jared C. Tilton/GettyImages

Dan Morgan had some tough choices to make during his first offseason as general manager. Some were out of his hands. Others were made as part of his long-term plans for the Carolina Panthers. A few seemed a foregone conclusion long before they became official.

One such case involved Jeremy Chinn. The versatile defensive weapon looked like a cornerstone piece for future success after a phenomenal rookie campaign in 2020. However, a position switch coupled with injury complications and Ejiro Evero's arrival meant his departure from the franchise was guaranteed when his contract expired.

Chinn saw his reps decrease significantly within Evero's creative 3-4 base scheme. He became an afterthought with the likes of Alex Cook getting more playing time once injuries occurred. The former second-round selection couldn't wait to get away in pursuit of joining somewhere he felt could maximize his obvious athletic attributes.

Soon after free agency began, Chinn signed for the Washington Commanders. He reportedly turned down more money from the Pittsburgh Steelers in favor of linking up with Dan Quinn - someone who's got a proven track record with defensive backs. This could be a match made in heaven if everything goes according to plan.

Carolina Panthers departure named as potential bounce-back candidate in 2024

This was a sentiment echoed by Chris Trapasso from CBS Sports. The NFL analyst named Chinn as a potential bounce-back candidate under Quinn's exceptional guidance. Something that would cast a few envious glances in his direction from Carolina's long-suffering fanbase.

"Just a few years ago, [Jeremy] Chinn was a prototype. A new-age model for what teams wanted and needed at the safety position. And now he's part of the Dan Quinn Takeover in Washington under new ownership. And let's just say Quinn has experience coaching productive safeties in his past, particularly safety-linebacker hybrids like Kam Chancellor, Keanu Neal, and most recently Donovan Wilson and Markquese Bell in Dallas. Chinn is only 26 years old. And Washington's defense will be better than its No. 26 finish in DVOA a season ago -- the club has added many serious additions to that side of the ball this offseason. Chinn will be a key element to that improvement in 2024."

Chris Trapasso, CBS Sports

There's no doubt Chinn was mismanaged. Switching him back to the safety position where he starred in college after taking the league by storm as an outside linebacker was a mistake. There was also a distinct lack of trust in the player from Evero's standpoint, which was the final nail in his proverbial Panthers' coffin.

Chinn has a significant opportunity awaiting him in Washington. Quinn's defenses rely on fast, physical players in the secondary who can impact the game in all phases. If the Southern Illinois product is utilized correctly, it'll do his chances of silencing some increasing doubters a tremendous amount of good.

The motivation is there for all to see with Chinn. He also has the added incentive of earning a longer-term, more lucrative deal with the Commanders or elsewhere with a strong campaign.

If Chinn thrives and Carolina's defense takes a step back after losing so many established figures, questions will be asked. Morgan valued surrounding quarterback Bryce Young with a more prolific supporting cast. Whether it pays off accordingly remains to be seen.