When are the Carolina Panthers going to sign another pass-rusher in 2023?

The Carolina Panthers are delaying the inevitable.

Scott Fitterer
Scott Fitterer / Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports

When are the Carolina Panthers going to address their need for another veteran pass-rushing threat opposite Brian Burns in 2023?

Just two days remain until the Carolina Panthers participate in their first official training camp practice. This has been a source of great excitement in recent weeks, which comes after a profitable offseason that restored belief of better times ahead for a franchise that's languished among the NFL's bottom-feeders for too long.

For all the positive moves made throughout a memorable spring, there are a couple of glaring needs that the Panthers haven't yet addressed with the necessary urgency. The cornerback unit has some significant questions attached and Carolina could also do with another consistent edge presence opposite Brian Burns before Week 1 at the Atlanta Falcons arrives.

Fans have become increasingly impatient with general manager Scott Fitterer regarding these two position groups, in particular. Something that could end up becoming a weak link if others don't step up and contribute.

Carolina Panthers must sign another pass-rusher before Week 1

All signs point to the Panthers signing another pass-rusher. The real question centers on why Fitterer is delaying the inevitable.

This was a topic discussed recently by Joe Person of The Athletic. The beat writer didn't hold out much hope that those already on the books could make the improvements needed - citing Jadeveon Clowney and Yannick Ngakoue as immediate upgrades that Carolina might target depending on what unfolds early at training camp.

"This seems to be a when, not if proposition for the Panthers, who have a Pro Bowl pass rusher in Burns and a Haason Reddick-sized hole at the other edge position. The fighters and clawers — an appropriate reference given this team’s mascot — include veterans Marquis Haynes and Yetur Gross-Matos, second-year player Amaré Barno and third-round pick DJ Johnson. Haynes has had some success as a 4-3 situational rusher, but he and Gross-Matos might not fit as well in Evero’s 3-4. Proven edge rushers Jadeveon Clowney and Yannick Ngakoue remain unsigned; either would represent an upgrade over the “bunch of guys” on the roster. Fitterer also could wait to see who shakes loose at roster cutdowns, as he did last year when he brought in defensive end Henry Anderson after the Patriots released him with an injury settlement."

Joe Person, The Athletic

Frank Reich and his staff want to get a good look at everyone when the pads go on at Wofford College before examining alternative options. Marquis Haynes Sr. and Yetur Gross-Matos have been praised for their performances over early workouts, but Person is right to suggest their success isn't guaranteed in Ejiro Evero's creative 3-4 base scheme.

Fitterer might also be waiting around for better value, which is a mistake. This is a premium position that rarely drops in asking price no matter the time of year, so sticking with his aggressive approach represents the best course of action.

It'll be interesting to see how things unfold. Fitterer's primary objective currently is working out a long-term extension with Burns, who wants top dollar and has all the leverage after the Panthers resisted a whopping trade offer from the Los Angeles Rams before the 2022 deadline.

After that, getting additional assistance is almost a necessity. Just why it hasn't been done sooner other than a third-round rookie with some upside remains a mystery.