3 free agents the Panthers should target in 2021 offseason

Seattle Seahawks 2021 offseason, Gerald Everett (Photo by Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports)
Seattle Seahawks 2021 offseason, Gerald Everett (Photo by Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports) /
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Joe Thuney, New England Patriots, Carolina Panthers
New England Patriots offensive lineman Joe Thuney, Panthers 2021 FA target – Photo by Mark Konezny-USA TODAY Sports) /

The Carolina Panthers enter year two of the Matt Rhule era with a new general manager in Scott Fitterer who has spent the last two decades working for the Seattle Seahawks.

If Fitterer’s style is what we’ve come to know from the Seattle Seahawks over the past couple of decades, we can expect the Panthers to be active in the 2021 offseason on the trade market (they reportedly already made a strong offer for Matthew Stafford) as well as in free agency.

Fitterer is inheriting a roster that has already had a demolition and initial foundation set. The Panthers’ entire 2020 draft class was spent on the defensive side of the ball, so the offensive side is understandably going to need a lot of attention in the 2021 offseason.

Four of the Panthers’ five starters on the offensive line are free agents, along with receiver Curtis Samuel.

Perhaps the most important in-house player the Panthers will need to bring back for 2021 and beyond? Right tackle Taylor Moton, an obvious franchise tag candidate.

Operating under the assumption that Moton is back on the franchise tag and that Curtis Samuel hits the open market (as an obvious player the Panthers would like to bring back) who are three free agents outside of their own that the Panthers should be targeting?

Let’s take a look.

1. Joe Thuney, OG, Patriots (age: 29)

To reiterate, the Panthers have four of their five offensive line starters slated for free agency.

With Taylor Moton expected back as a franchise player (at the very least), the Panthers will have to upgrade their offensive interior through free agency.

They might be able to bank on Greg Little to take over at left tackle, but they should once again be looking for hedges there in the 2021 NFL Draft.

Adding a player like Joe Thuney and really just solidifying a starting left guard position would be a huge coup for the Panthers. Thuney was the Patriots’ franchise player last year but if he hits the market this offseason, he’s a guy who is going to make any team that he signs with better.

He played his college ball at North Carolina State, so maybe he’s looking to get back to that area of the country to play his second contract.