The 2019 season for the Carolina Panthers wasn’t ideal and that has given them the No. 7 pick of the 2020 NFL Draft. After his combine performance it looks like Clemson Linebacker Isaiah Simmons may be gone before Carolina picks. Simmons is the player I want in Carolina. He’s listed as a 6’4″, 238 pound linebacker. He can play virtually any position on defense and ran a 4.39 40 earlier this week. Simmons’ 40 time is the 2nd-fastest time by any linebacker at the combine since 2006. I will be a happy man if Simmons is available at 7. But, this article isn’t about the draft. It’s about free agency.
The Panthers made noise in Free Agency last year signing Bruce Irvin, Gerald McCoy and Chris Hogan among some others. If the Panthers front office decides to make some moves again, these are some of the players I think are worth looking into.
Minnesota Vikings S Anthony Harris
Vikings Free Safety Anthony Harris signed a 1-year, $3 million contract with Minnesota in 2019. Now at 28 years old he is an Unrestricted Free Agent. Harris saw some snaps in 2018 but his production really took off last season. Harris had the top regular season coverage grade among safeties (91.6) after finishing last season ranked 6th.
In his last two seasons, Harris has 9 interceptions and 7 pass breakups. Here is what got my attention about Safety Anthony Harris. Harris missed only 4 of his 100 tackle attempts last season and tackling is something the Panthers struggled with in 2019.
Panthers Safety Tre Boston is a free agent this year. He finished last season with 3 interceptions (T-Team high) and 68 total tackles.
New York Jets WR Robby Anderson
After playing his first three seasons with the Jets, Anderson signed a 1-year extension worth $3,095,000 in 2019 and entered the 2020 season as an Unrestricted Free Agent. New York rejected trade offers for Anderson at the deadline and in late December it was rumored that Anderson is looking for a contract where he’ll make between $10-15 million annually.
His fourth year in the league was a productive one for one of the bottom-feeders in the NFL as of late. In 2019, Anderson caught 52 passes for 779 yards recording 5 touchdowns. He averages 5 touchdowns a season through his career. Anderson can be a deep threat for Carolina as he is the 15th-best graded player in the NFL on 20-plus yard throws since his rookie season (2016). Anderson also ranks 11th in deep receiving yards since 2016 (1,311). Anderson is described as a “potent deep threat,” having 7 touchdown catches of 40 or more yards in his career. Last season he averaged 15 yards a reception. Anderson has great numbers on a struggling team. Robby Anderson should be on the list if the Panthers were to look at receivers in free agency.
Outside Linebacker Shaquil Barret
In 2019, Shaqil Barret signed with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers for one-year worth $4 million. At 26 years old, Barret had a stellar season pressuring the quarterback 82 times and recording 20 sacks, 18 QB hits, and 44 hurries. Tampa Bay’s edge rusher is a familiar foe for Carolina causing problems for them in both games last season. In Week 2 against Carolina on Thursday Night Football, Barret recorded one of the fastest sacks in NFL History on Cam Newton, sending him to the ground in under 3.5 seconds.
Even though the Panthers were one of the season leaders in sacks, they still struggled putting pressure on the quarterback. Barret has proven himself to be a quick threat on the line and cause absolute mayhem in the backfield.