Ranking the top-five free agent signings by the Carolina Panthers in 2023
By Dean Jones
Adam Thielen - Carolina Panthers WR
When the Carolina Panthers gave up D.J. Moore in the trade that landed them the No. 1 overall selection, it left the wide receiver room incredibly thin of reliable options. Hope remains that Terrace Marshall Jr. can emerge into a primary weapon, but there's just no telling for sure after some severe mismanagement of the former second-round selection under the previous regime that hindered his early development.
Adding a dynamic weapon via the college ranks is another possible option. But the signings of Adam Thielen and D.J. Chark have the scope to offset Moore's departure if the pair hit it off in a different environment.
Thielen, in particular, is a fascinating acquisition. He resisted overtures from elsewhere to join the Panthers and even though he's 32 years old, could still make a lasting impact during his first season away from the Minnesota Vikings.
The once-unheralded undrafted free agent is one of the slickest route-runners in the business. This makes Thielen a potential difference-maker over intermediate routes and in the red zone, which is exactly what a new rookie quarterback needs right out of the gate.
The fact Thielen believed enough in Carolina's plans to spurn the chance to join a contender shows how much good work is being done behind the scenes. If the wideout stays clear of injury, his first 1,000-yard receiving season since 2018 won't be far behind.