2023 NFL Offseason report: Carolina Panthers

2R1E9YB Carolina Panthers quarterback Bryce Young smiles during the NFL football team's rookie minicamp, Saturday, May 13, 2023, in Charlotte, N.C. (AP Photo/Chris Carlson)

Free agency recap: Wide receivers D.J. Chark and Adam Thielen have both struggled through injuries in recent years but will be critical to the development of Carolina’s new signal-caller if they can stay on the field.

• Best move of the offseason: The Panthers made the boldest move of the draft, trading a bounty of picks and wide receiver D.J. Moore to Chicago in exchange for the first overall pick.

• Outlook for 2023: Like Atlanta, Carolina may be working in a young quarterback, but there is enough talent on the roster to compete within their division.

Estimated reading time: 5 minutes


As the dust settles on the 2023 NFL offseason, it's time to assess how each team fared in their quest to improve their roster.

Recapping blockbuster trades and high-profile signings to shrewd draft selections, PFF offers an in-depth assessment of all 32 NFL teams, shedding light on the potential impact these moves may have on their fortunes in the upcoming campaign.

For more information on each team's draft selections and offseason moves, download the PFF draft guide today!

CAROLINA PANTHERS OFFSEASON GRADE: B+

 2023 NFL Free Agency
FA signings FA losses
S Vonn Bell DI Matt Ioannidis (FA)
WR DJ Chark RB D’Onta Foreman (CHI)
WR Adam Thielen
RB Miles Sanders
TE Hayden Hurst
DI Shy Tuttle
QB Andy Dalton
Free agency recap

The Panthers heavily targeted veteran skill position players in free agency. Wide receivers D.J. Chark and Adam Thielen have both struggled through injuries in recent years but will be critical to the development of Carolina’s new signal-caller if they can stay on the field.

Running back Miles Sanders is coming off the best season of his career, as he forced a career-best 52 missed tackles, and 856 of his 1,419 yards came after contact.

On the defensive side, safety Vonn Bell arrives via Cincinnati, where he tallied four interceptions and three forced incompletions in 2022.

2023 Draft class

R1 (1): QB Bryce Young, Alabama
R2 (39): WR Jonathan Mingo, Ole Miss
R3 (80): EDGE DJ Johnson, Oregon
R4 (114): G Chandler Zavala, NC State
R5 (145): S Jammie Robinson, Florida State

2023 NFL Draft recap

The Panthers made the boldest move of the draft, trading a bounty of picks and wide receiver D.J. Moore to Chicago in exchange for the first overall pick. They opted to take Alabama QB Bryce Young, PFF's No. 1 overall prospect, who totaled 60 big-time throws to 25 turnover-worthy plays in his three-year career with the Crimson Tide.

With Moore being a key part of the package to trade up, the Panthers needed to find a young piece to replenish the receiving corps. They ultimately addressed the need in Round 2 with Jonathan Mingo, who has ideal NFL size and speed but was not a high-volume player at Mississippi. In 2022, he recorded 924 yards on 55 catches, 396 yards coming after the catch.

Best move of the offseason: The Trade

Trading into the first-overall draft position is always risky, and doing so for a 5-foot-10, 204-pound QB is simply unprecedented.

However, Young is an outstanding player, and he's a strong bet to turn around this franchise if he can maintain his health.

Remaining team needs: Cornerback

The Panthers have a number of former high draft picks to put opposite 2021 first-round pick Jaycee Horn, but the recent level of play outside of Horn has been inconsistent at best.

Donte Jackson forced just one incompletion in nine games last season before suffering a torn Achilles in Week 10, while C.J. Henderson allowed a 106.9 passer rating across 74 throws into his coverage.

Keith Taylor’s coverage grade was just 52.1 in 2022, and he forced just three incompletions, three fewer than he did as a rookie in 2021.

If none of them make significant strides during camp — or if Jackson’s recovery timeline makes him unavailable — the Panthers may need to look for another player in free agency or via trade.

Early position battle to watch: WR Terrace Marshall Jr. vs. WR Jonathan Mingo

With multiple veterans now on the scene as well as a highly-drafted rookie, now is the time for Marshall to assert himself in the Panthers’ WR room.

A former second-round pick himself, Marshall has managed just 45 receptions and one touchdown in two seasons with Carolina, notably coming down with just 35.0% of his contested targets over that stretch.

The expectation is that Mingo will need time to adjust to NFL route running, but if he impresses throughout camp and the preseason, he could find himself in line for reps come the regular season.

2023 Outlook

Like Atlanta, Carolina may be working in a young quarterback, but there is enough talent on the remainder of the roster to compete within their division.

The front office has hit on a series of top draft picks on defense with edge defender Brian Burns, interior defensive lineman Derrick Brown and cornerback Jaycee Horn, and the addition of so many veterans on offense should aid Young’s transition.

The key to competing for the duration of the season will be not just the health and development of Young but also the health of the top trio of playmakers on defense.

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