4 free agents the Panthers should consider re-signing
During his introductory press conference on Thursday afternoon, Carolina Panthers assistant head coach and running backs coach Duce Staley gave us a sneak peek into his free agent priority list. Well, it actually wasn’t a list—it was more of a ringing endorsement for running back D’Onta Foreman.
So, let’s keep connecting some dots and make a list of our own.
Here are the top four free agents the Panthers should consider re-signing.
QB Sam Darnold
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No, Darnold is not the long-term answer under center. But there could be a scenario where he wouldn’t be the absolute worst option to start come Week 1.
The soon-to-be sixth-year veteran showed that there exists a timeline where he can be the starting quarterback of a functioning offense. That came in a six-week stretch, from Darnold’s takeover in Week 12 to Week 17, when Carolina actually boasted the league’s most efficient passing game.
If the Panthers draft a quarterback who isn’t ready for the season opener or miss out on the position completely, at least they’d have a decent enough placeholder or a fallback head coach Frank Reich may be able to extract the potential out of. And at best, they have a solid backup.
DT Matt Ioannidis
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This past week, both Reich and defensive coordinator Ejiro Evero confirmed that the Panthers will be shifting to a 3-4 base defense. And guess who has prior experience in that scheme?
Ioannidis started as a defensive end in Washington’s 3-4 for three seasons. He excelled in the role—posting 4.5 sacks in 2017, 7.5 in 2018 and 8.5 in 2019.
Carolina is already thin as it is in the trench, so holding on to a guy who can make the seamless transition may be a good idea.
RB D'Onta Foreman
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As we mentioned earlier, Foreman is a high priority for Staley. And if he’s a high priority for Staley, then he’s a high priority for us. (Hey, would you defy Duce?)
Foreman rushed for career-highs in yards (914) and touchdowns (five) this past season, helping give the previously lost offense at least a semblance of an identity. He can continue to do so under Staley and new offensive coordinator Thomas Brown, two former rushers who should certainly appreciate what they’d have in the big bruiser.
Plus, with so many top-end backs also hitting the open market, Foreman could return at a team-friendly price.
C Bradley Bozeman
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Speaking of big bruisers, good luck finding anyone in Carolina who wouldn’t be disappointed if big Bradley Bozeman didn’t return.
The fifth-year hog molly became a fan favorite almost immediately after taking over at center in Week 7. Bozeman’s physicality and reliability seemingly helped solidify what was the best offensive line this franchise has seen in years.
What makes him more valuable, in addition to keeping up this group’s continuity, are the injuries to starting guards Austin Corbett and Brady Christensen. If at least one of the two is not healthy enough to kick off the season, Bozeman’s presence would give the Panthers their answer at center and allow them to start Pat Elflein on the interior.