It’s a new era of football for the Carolina Panthers as Matt Rhule is gone and Frank Reich is in.
The Panthers are looking to take the next step in the NFC South as the division is wide open with Tom Brady officially retired. The bad news is that the Panthers don’t have their franchise quarterback on their roster and are currently over the cap by $3 million as of this posting.
There is no legal North Carolina sports betting yet, although positive signs are beginning to emerge.
As the state gears up, BetCarolina.com will be following pro and college sports in North Carolina. Here is an analysis of the Carolina Panthers as they head into the important free agency period. We also will make our picks at free agents who succeeded or failed for Carolina as well as take an early glance at the Panthers’ 2023 outlook from oddsmakers.
NFL free agency officially begins March 15 at 4 p.m.
Free Agent Possibilities
So, how do the Panthers get better this offseason in free agency? They must find a way to significantly upgrade the talent level of their offense. Carolina would love to keep D’Onta Foreman, but he is set to become a free agent. It likely won’t take a lot for the Panthers to sign him to a deal but finding a number that makes sense for both sides might not happen for a while.
The Panthers also have a decision to make with Sam Darnold, who is set to become a free agent. While he certainly isn’t a long-term option, Darnold did play better down the stretch last season. From Weeks 12-17, Darnold had a passer rating of 105.4 and scored nine touchdowns (with just one interception). The expectation is that the Panthers will select a quarterback early in the 2023 NFL Draft but look for them to bring Darnold back as a potential “bridge” to their next quarterback.
Outside of the quarterback position, the Panthers could really use more playmakers on offense, but this free-agent class isn’t particularly strong at receiver. Could someone like Allen Lazard or Jakobi Meyers make sense as the No. 2 receiver on the other side of D.J. Moore? Potentially, but those two players both want big deals and the Panthers might not have the cap space to give them top-of-the-market money. Instead, look for Carolina to do some bargain shopping at receiver and explore signing a veteran receiver like JuJu Smith-Schuster.
Maybe the Panthers look to the tight end market instead, which has a lot more options. Tommy Tremble and Ian Thomas are both on the roster right now, but they aren’t threats as pass catchers. Could the Panthers add someone like Dalton Schultz, who has totaled 2,000 yards and scored 17 touchdowns in the past three seasons with Dallas? Maybe, but that might be out of their price range. Hayden Hurst, Foster Moreau, and Austin Hooper could be cheaper options if the Panthers do want to improve their talent level at tight end.
It wouldn't be a surprise to see the Panthers look for more pass-rush help opposite Brian Burns. They need a No. 2 rusher that can take some of the attention off Burns, so don't be surprised if they look at a few veteran rushers such as Dante Fowler Jr. or Bud Dupree at lower prices.
The Panthers have a big off-season ahead of them and an important draft class coming. With some solid additions in both free agency and the draft, the Panthers could easily win the NFC South for the first time since 2015.
Panthers and Free Agency
BetCarolina.com looks at some previous maneuvers in free agency by the Carolina Panthers. Check out the site for information on North Carolina sports betting apps.
Free Agent Hits
Free Agent Misses
What Do Oddsmakers Expect from 2023 Panthers?
FanDuel seems to be saying the Panthers can be a playoff contender this upcoming season. The Panthers are listed at +270 to win the NFC South, behind only the New Orleans Saints (+115), who made a big move this week by signing Derek Carr at quarterback. Atlanta (+400) and Tampa Bay (+500) are behind the Saints and Panthers.
To win the Super Bowl, Carolina is listed at +5500 by FanDuel. That places the Panthers 22nd among the league’s 32 teams.
Stay tuned to BetCarolina.com for updates on North Carolina sports betting legislation as well as for North Carolina sportsbook promo codes.