Failed Former Panthers RB Finds New Home in Free Agency

Tarik Cohen was named a First-Team All-Pro in 2018
Tarik Cohen was named a First-Team All-Pro in 2018 / Kamil Krzaczynski-USA TODAY Sports

Former Panthers RB Tarik Cohen signed a one-year deal with the New York Jets, continuing his NFL comeback after falling short with Carolina.

Cohen was with the Panthers' practice squad last season before ultimately being released. He was a standout with the Chicago Bears before devastating injuries derailed his career. The 2018 First-Team All-Pro became a fan-favorite after being drafted in the fourth round of the 2017 NFL Draft and I'm cheering for his comeback.

New kickoff rules could give Cohen value this season, though it ultimately won't come with the Panthers.

Former Panthers RB Tarik Cohen Signs With Jets

It's an exciting time for Carolina after making dramatic changes to the organization this offseason. Dave Canales leads a promising offense with newly-acquired players like WRs Xavier Legette and Dionate Johnson, RB Jonathon Brooks, and TE Ja'Tavion Sanders.

Brooks figures to lead the backfield, though incumbent starter Chuba Hubbard had an excellent 2023 campaign. There wasn't room for Cohen on this team, so it makes sense that Carolina went in a different direction instead of depending on an aging, oft-injured back.

Nonetheless, I'm rooting for Cohen. He was one of the NFL's most versatile weapons before his untimely injuries in 2020, and the kickoff rules should give him an opportunity at a role.

Panthers fans should be fired up about what this offense could look like even without Cohen. Rome wasn't build in a day, but Carolina is certainly closer to competitive competence than it was a year ago. If Canales connects with 2023 No. 1 pick Bryce Young, the Panthers could compete for the playoffs sooner than later.

Carolina is currently +450 to make the playoffs at FanDuel Sportsbook. After last year's 2-15 finish, the Panthers will be happy with incremental improvement but could find themselves in the hunt if all goes according to plan.

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