With free agency set to officially begin in just a couple of weeks, Gregg Rosenthal of NFL.com released his top 100 free agents for the 2021 offseason. There are quite a few names on this list that could be of interest to the Panthers but there are also three members of the Panthers who received some recognition.
No. 10 Taylor Moton (OT)
There's no doubt about it, Taylor Moton is a DUDE. Not only is he a dude but he is the piece that Carolina can not afford to let slip away. Over the last four years, Moton has improved his game to the point where he can be considered one of the best right tackles in the entire NFL. Carolina cleared up a bunch of cap space so signing Moton to a long-term deal should not be held back by the money constraints. However, there is a chance that a long-term deal does not get done. In that case, I would expect the Panthers to place the franchise tag on him. Seeing Moton in another uniform in 2021 would be a total shock. One way or another, GM Scott Fitterer will make sure Moton is here for the foreseeable future.
No. 24 Curtis Samuel (WR)
Although Robby Anderson and DJ Moore received a lot of national attention, Curtis Samuel was just as valuable. His versatility really helped the Panthers get creative on offense by sticking him in the backfield at running back in addition to the multiple spots he lined up at receiver. Samuel was Teddy Bridgewater's most reliable target and came through in clutch situations. He elevated his catch percentage from a mere 51% in 2019 to 79% which was tops in the league for receivers over 40 receptions. Carolina would love to have his versatility back but don't be surprised if he moves on to another team. One team to watch for in the Samuel sweepstakes would be the Washington Football Team. Ron Rivera and Marty Hurney obviously have a history with him and he was college teammates with fellow wide receiver Terry McLaurin at Ohio State.
No. 98 Kawann Short (DT)
The Panthers decided to part ways with the veteran defensive tackle that was a major part of Carolina's defensive success over the years. However, it is rumored that Carolina would be interested in welcoming Short back if he can't find the right option in free agency. Back-to-back season-ending shoulder injuries played a big part in Short's release and if he does return to the organization, it will be quite a hometown discount and a team-friendly deal.
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