4 pending free agents the Panthers should let walk in 2024

Which players may be left behind as the Carolina Panthers transition into a new era?

Here are four pending free agents that the team should let walk this offseason:

CB CJ Henderson

Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports
Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports

One of two gambles you’re about to see, Henderson—who was acquired for a third-round pick and tight end Dan Arnold in 2021—never really paid off for Carolina.

It must’ve hurt that a former ninth overall pick, over the span of three seasons, failed to nail down a permanent spot in the starting lineup. And it probably hurt even more considering how painfully thin the Panthers have been at the cornerback position in that time.

Even with a new regime in place, Henderson’s time seems to be up. Not only did the organization turn down his fifth-year option last spring, but he was also a healthy scratch in two of the final three games of the season.

WR Laviska Shenault Jr.

Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports
Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports

This experiment is probably over as well.

Shenault, another Jacksonville Jaguars cast-off, never fulfilled the dual-threat hopes the Panthers had for him. While solid when used out of the backfield, averaging 5.7 yards per attempt, the 2020 second-round pick reeled in just 37 passes for 332 yards and a touchdown over his two years in Carolina.

WR DJ Chark

Jim Dedmon-USA TODAY Sports
Jim Dedmon-USA TODAY Sports

Chark led the team in receiving touchdowns (five) this past season. But leading the 2023 Panthers in an offensive category is kind of like being one of the nicest guys in prison.

The inconsistencies of this one-time Pro Bowler outweighed whatever big-play prowess he ended up displaying. He averaged 2.3 yards of separation and didn’t boast the reliable hands to make up for that lack of space.

Quarterback Bryce Young was failed by far too many wideouts who couldn’t win on their routes. And Chark, who was certainly one of them, is free to swim off.

S Jeremy Chinn

Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images
Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images

After hinting towards a special role for Chinn prior to the regular season, first-year defensive coordinator Ejiro Evero never really carved out a spot for the versatile weapon.

The former second-round pick was a regular for Carolina in his first three seasons—as he played in 97 percent of the team’s defensive snaps in 2020, 98.9 percent in 2021 and 90.7 percent in 2022. 2023, however, saw him take a backseat for a 38.7-percent share.

With Evero and his entire staff returning, it’s best for Chinn to find himself a team that can actually figure out how to use his talents.

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Story originally appeared on Panthers Wire