Panthers’ D.J. Wonnum Likely To Miss Time In Training Camp

Having moved on from Brian Burns, the Panthers will rely heavily on free agent additions Jadeveon Clowney and D.J. Wonnum along the edge in 2024. The latter’s availability for training camp is in question, though.

Wonnum dealt with complications from the quadriceps surgery he underwent this offseason throughout spring workouts, as noted by The Athletic’s Joe Person (subscription required). As a result, the ex-Viking did not take part in OTAs or minicamp. Person adds Wonnum is therefore a strong candidate to open training camp on the active/PUP list.

Players who open camp with that designation can be activated at any time, and the Panthers will no doubt look to bring Wonnum into the fold as quickly as possible. The 26-year-old signed a two-year, $12.5MM deal in March, and he is in line to handle starting duties on his new team. Wonnum alternated between a starting and rotational role in Minnesota, but he has flashed potential when given a notable workload (eight sacks in each of the 2021 and ’23 seasons).

Wonnum and Clowney are joined on the depth chart by the likes of K’Lavon Chaisson, Amare Barno, DJ Johnson and Eku LeotaAs Person notes, Chaisson – who struggled to make an impact across four years with the Jaguars – was away from OTAs, while the others are each dealing with injury situations of their own. The group could be short on healthy bodies when training camp opens next month.

Carolina ranked last in the NFL with 27 sacks last season. With Burns and Yetur Gross-Matos (who signed with the 49ers in free agency) out of the picture, Clowney and Wonnum – if he manages to recover in time for the regular season – will lead the Panthers’ newcomers along the edge. Person does add, though, that the team could be in the market for a pass rush addition via free agency or trade, along with the waiver wire later in the offseason given the current uncertainty at that position. Carolina currently has just over $6MM in cap space, so a small move in that regard could be feasible.

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