Playoff contender urged to splash out on Carolina Panthers LB Frankie Luvu

Frankie Luvu's future is hanging in the balance.

Frankie Luvu
Frankie Luvu / Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports

An AFC playoff hopeful has been urged to splash out and sign Carolina Panthers linebacker Frankie Luvu in free agency.

Frankie Luvu has become an integral part of the Carolina Panthers' defensive plans. His emergence from a special teams ace to a vocal locker room leader is immensely encouraging. After getting the ferocious linebacker at a bargain price over the last three years, his representatives will be looking for much more when negotiations resume before free agency.

Luvu's energy and consistency make him the beating heart of Carolina's defense. The Panthers also need to extend star edge rusher Brian Burns, but they should have the financial means to keep both established figures around with a little extra breathing space following the NFL's larger-than-anticipated cap increase.

Texans urged to steal Frankie Luvu from the Carolina Panthers

If the Panthers let Luvu test the market, interest won't be long coming. John Crumpler from USA Today Sports urged the Houston Texans to splash the cash in an attempt to land the former Washington State star. Something that would give DeMeco Ryans' progressive young defense a major boost.

"Many are looking at the Houston Texans as a natural fit for a marquee free agent running back like Saquon Barkley or Josh Jacobs. Head coach DeMeco Ryans has preached that he wants to improve the Front 7 and a natural fit could be Carolina Panthers linebacker Frankie Luvu. The versatile linebacker had 125 combined tackles and 5.5 sacks while wearing the green dot for the Panthers. Pairing the explosive Luvu next to third year player Christian Harris could create one of the top linebacker duos in football as Houston’s defense looks to take the next step."

John Crumpler, USA Today Sports

Much like the situation with Burns, the Panthers must do everything in their power to keep Luvu around. Dan Morgan cannot carry on the habit of letting star players leave. The new general manager must establish a culture of rewarding key contributors as part of his ambitious plans for the future.

There are ways to work Luvu's new deal to benefit Carolina from a salary-cap capacity. Brandt Tilis has plenty of experience in financial manipulation from his successful stint with the Kansas City Chiefs. A big initial signing bonus, backloading the extension, or perhaps adding some voided years onto the deal could provide the Panthers with some short-term relief and keep their best second-level enforcer around.

The Texans would be high on the list of ideal fits for Luvu on the open market. This is a team on the up with Ryans leading the charge. As a former linebacker himself, he knows the importance of a supreme difference-maker in this area of the field. Something that Luvu has become beyond all doubt after a meteoric rise to prominence.

Unfortunately for the Texans or anyone else potentially coveting Luvu, the Panthers hold all the cards. Extension talks should ramp up in the coming days. There appears to be a mutual desire to get something worked out. After everything he's given the organization since arriving from the New York Jets in 2021 free agency, anything less than a positive outcome represents a terrible early look to Morgan's tenure.

Given the skepticism surrounding his promotion, it's something Morgan needs to avoid. Tying down Luvu long-term is a good place to start.