Trade candidate's cryptic post should put Carolina Panthers on high alert

This is something Dan Morgan should be watching intently.
Dan Morgan
Dan Morgan / Jim Dedmon-USA TODAY Sports

It's no secret that the Carolina Panthers have some concerns surrounding their edge-rushing options heading into the 2024 season. Dan Morgan will be monitoring things closely throughout the team's upcoming training camp, but the potential for new arrivals is high looking at the current options available to defensive coordinator Ejiro Evero.

Brian Burns' relationship with the organization was fractured past the point of no return and Morgan traded him to the New York Giants. Frankie Luvu turned down an extension in favor of joining the Washington Commanders. Yetur Gross-Matos cashed in on his most productive NFL season by signing for the San Francisco 49ers. Marquis Haynes Sr. wasn't brought back after an injury-ravaged 2023 campaign.

This decimated a unit that finished dead-last in sacks per game around the league last time around. Jadeveon Clowney and D.J. Wonnum both joined in free agency. There is a distinct lack of depth behind them - something that could derail Carolina's chances of making improvements under new head coach Dave Canales in 2024.

Carolina Panthers should monitor Matthew Judon's situation closely

A developing situation involving stud pass-rusher Matthew Judon should interest Morgan. The veteran is looking for a contract extension with the New England Patriots that's shown no signs of arriving as yet. His frustrations are growing based on a cryptic social media post that hinted his time with the franchise could be coming to an end.

Judon missed a lot of football last season due to injury. He was nothing short of phenomenal in the two campaigns before 2023, racking up 28 sacks and 53 quarterback hits. If the Patriots make him available, there should be no shortage of suitors.

Whether it's something the Panthers consider is up for debate. Morgan has a bounty of draft selections in 2025 that he can part with to get this deal over the line. However, some underlying factors could put off those in power when push comes to shove.

The former fifth-round selection out of Grand Valley State will be 33 years old when the season begins. That's not ancient by edge-rushing standards, but everyone falls off the proverbial performance cliff at some stage. Carolina would also need to pay the player given he's out of contract next spring to further complicate matters.

This is workable unless Judon's demands are extortionate. Parting ways with picks as compensation when Morgan wants to build through the draft could be the biggest stumbling block.

There's no doubt Judon instantly becomes the Panthers' best pass-rusher by a considerable margin in this scenario. At the same time, paying someone approaching their career twilight at this stage of their rebuild might not be in Morgan's train of thought.

It wouldn't hurt to ask, of course. But this seems like a win-now move when the Panthers are gradually building up to contention with Morgan and Canales leading the charge. Judon's got the tools needed to thrive in Evero's creative 3-4 base scheme, so it couldn't be completely dismissed depending on the compensation and demands on his new deal.

Morgan will be watching events with Judon and many others closely. Whether he'll pull the trigger on a bold acquisition such as this is another matter.