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Carolina Panthers Offseason Foucs: Defense

Byrce Young

The Carolina Panthers seem to be following a specific theme this offseason: bringing back players who have a connection to the region. Two such players are Jadeveon Clowney and D.J. Wonnum, alumni of South Carolina and hail from the area. While Clowney grew up in Rock Hill, SC, Wonnum is from Stone Mountain, Georgia, only a few hours’ drive away.

Stephon Gilmore, another former Gamecock and Rock Hill native could join the Panthers soon. Reports suggest that the team is interested in bringing him back home, while Clowney is keen to link up with him. However, the question remains whether this move would benefit the team.

On the positive side, signing Gilmore would fill a need for the Panthers. Adding a player of his caliber would undoubtedly improve the team’s on-field performance.

Even at his age, Gilmore is still playing at a high level, and if the Panthers can get the most out of him, it would make their already strong defense even better. Additionally, Gilmore’s presence could provide valuable leadership to the team.

He may not be the most vocal player, but he commands the respect of everyone around him. Having him mentor younger players like Jaycee Horn could hugely benefit their development.

Potential Drawbacks To Consider

Firstly, there is the issue of money. It’s unclear how much Gilmore will demand in terms of salary and years, but the Panthers need to be careful not to overspend on a 33-year-old player. A one-year deal worth $6-7 million seems like a reasonable compromise.

Secondly, cheaper options may be available that could still provide value to the team. While they may not have the same level of experience or leadership as Gilmore, they could still push for a starting spot and positively influence the younger players.

Finally, signing Gilmore could limit the opportunities available to younger players, such as Dicaprio Bootle and D’Shawn Jamison, who are hoping to establish themselves beyond special teams. Although they may not start immediately, they could still benefit from having more chances to prove themselves. The same is true for any cornerback that the Panthers may draft in the upcoming draft.

Whatever the Panthers do this offseason, there is hope they can produce a much better campaign than the one they played out last season. The team only managed two wins despite picking Bryce Young first overall. A new coaching staff has been installed, prompting lots of excitement among fans, who also now have NC sports betting as an added avenue for engagement.

Gilmore Could Return To Another Old Team

Meanwhile, it’s also been reported that Gilmore is open to returning to the New England Patriots. Gilmore, who signed a massive contract with the Patriots in free agency in 2017, played very well for the team over four seasons. He was a key player in their Super Bowl LIII win over the Los Angeles Rams and was named the Defensive Player of the Year in 2019.

Adding Gilmore would only further strengthen the team’s defense and give them more depth in the secondary. The Patriots are clearly serious about improving their defense, and Gilmore’s potential return only adds to their aspirations.

Overall, while there is no guarantee that Gilmore will return to the Patriots, it’s clear that the team and its fans would welcome him back with open arms. His experience, leadership, and talent would be valuable assets for the team as it looks to make a deep playoff run in the upcoming season.

Panthers Offseason Moves

  • Jadeveon Clowney, LB.
  • Diontae Johnson, WR.
  • Robert Hunt, G.
  • Damien Lewis, G.
  • Yosh Nijman, OT.
  • A’Shawn Robinson, DT.
  • Josey Jewell, LB.
  • Dane Jackson, CB.

NFL Draft Breakdown

Carolina Panthers Tankathon

After parting ways with a large number of draft picks to move up to acquire Bryce Young, the Panthers don’t have many options in this year’s NFL Draft. That said, they will look to maximize value on day 2 of the draft. Both Picks 33 and 39 need to hit if the team wants to take positive steps forward.

If Gilmore doesn’t return (or even if he does), the Panthers can’t go wrong with using one of their 2nd round picks on a corner. It’s a weak spot on the team, and adding depth there would keep them in tight games. Some have projected Kamari Lassiter from Georgia could be available at 33. A recent mock draft seemed convinced that one of their second-round picks would be focused on defense, whereas the other would be used to add a wide receiver.

Panthers fans hope Bryce Young and company can improve their 2-15 record from last season.

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