Latest On Panthers’ CB Situation

The Panthers have a vacancy at the cornerback spot for the time being, with Donte Jackson having been traded to the Steelers for Diontae Johnson and C.J. Henderson departing in free agency. Carolina has since signed Dane Jackson, but another move could be coming relatively soon.

Carolina is interested in bringing back Stephon Gilmorewho had a one-year tenure with the team in 2021. That season was limited to eight games, but the former Defensive Player of the Year still managed to earn a Pro Bowl nod. Gilmore remained healthy during his subsequent campaigns with the Colts and Cowboys, and he is one of the top defensive free agents still on the market.

A new Dallas deal is on Gilmore’s radar, but the 33-year-old could see starting duties if he were to re-join the Panthers. Gilmore would play alongside Jadeveon Clowney in that event, as the former No. 1 pick joined Carolina last week. The two attended the same South Carolina high school, and that connection could help convince Gilmore to take on a Panthers deal. Short of that, though, the team could be in need of a rookie CB addition.

Joe Person of The Athletic predicts the Panthers will select a corner “fairly high” in the upcoming draft if Gilmore or no other veteran is not signed (subscription required). Carolina has Jaycee Horn in place as a starter for at least one more season; a decision on his fifth-year option will be made this spring. The former top-10 pick has battled injuries in his career, though, so a long-term investment in the secondary would come as little surprise.

Dane Jackson will play a part in the team’s efforts to improve against the pass, having signed a two-year deal in free agency. The 27-year-old was drafted when Panthers GM Dan Morgan was a member of Brandon Beane‘s Bills staff, and Person notes Morgan lobbied for Carolina to sign Jackson when he became available. Jackson is in line to serve as a slot starter on his new team, one which has undergone several changes on both sides of the ball this offseason.

Carolina ranked third against the pass in 2023, and the retention of defensive coordinator Ejiro Evero points to a repeat of that success being possible this season. At least one notable move at the CB spot will likely be required, however, whether it is a reunion with Gilmore or an early emphasis on the position in the draft.

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