Left tackle has been an issue in Carolina for quite a while. In fact, the Panthers have had eight different full-time players at the position in as many years: Byron Bell (2014) Michael Oher (2015) Mike Remmers (2016) Matt Kalil (2017) Chris Clark (2018) Dennis Daley (2019 ) Russell Okung (2020), and Cameron Erving (2021).
After allowing over 50 sacks this past season, the offensive line needs a major facelift and it starts with the left tackle spot. Cameron Erving isn’t going to get it done and there are still some questions surrounding Brady Christensen in regards to what his best fit is. The most ideal way to fix this situation would be to sign a veteran left tackle in free agency that will protect the quarterback’s blindside consistently. Even with somewhat limited cap space, don’t be shocked to see GM Scott Fitterer move some money around to throw out a lucrative contract to a top free agent tackle next month.
With all that said, who could be some names to keep an eye on? Here are four.
Of course personnel changes on a year-to-year basis, but Armstead is familiar with the NFC South having spent the first nine years of his career with the New Orleans Saints. With Sean Payton out as head coach, Armstead may want to look in a different direction. He also may not have a choice because of how much the Saints are over the cap. Armstead is without a doubt one of the top left tackles in the league and if the Panthers can find a way to sign him to a multi-year deal and still have some money to work with at other positions, that would be a win. Unfortunately, he’s going to be a hefty price tag.
Robinson is one of the better young left tackles in football and will be a priority for the Jacksonville Jaguars as they continue to build around Trevor Lawrence. However, Robinson may not want to stick around in Duval considering how big of a rebuild they are going through. Yes, the Panthers are going through one themselves, but they are a whole heck of a lot closer to being a playoff team than the Jags are. Robinson’s market value according to spotrac is $16.8 million/year which is slightly cheaper than Armstead who is expected to get a deal near $24 million/year.
Fisher had a rough year in his first season with the Indianapolis Colts. He allowed seven sacks and committed eight penalties in 874 offensive snaps played. the former no. 1 overall pick has had a terrific career, so one “down year” shouldn’t scare off a team like the Panthers who are in obvious need of an upgrade. If Carolina does go this route, I wouldn’t expect anything more than a one or two-year deal.
Geron Christian Sr.
No, Christian may not be as high on the list as the three guys above, but he does have familiarity with new Panthers offensive line coach James Campen having worked with him this past season in Houston. He will be the cheapest of the options listed and isn’t necessarily someone that would be guaranteed a starting spot. He has appeared in 38 games in his career and has started just 16 of them. If the Panthers want to stick with Christensen as the starter or draft a tackle in the first round, Christian could be an option as a swing tackle that could compete for a starting spot.
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