Panthers Bolster Offensive Line With Second Major Free Agent Signing

Carolina now has $152 million committed to offensive guards.
The Panthers signed former Seahawks' guard Damien Lewis to a four-year, $52 million contract
The Panthers signed former Seahawks' guard Damien Lewis to a four-year, $52 million contract / Jay Biggerstaff-USA TODAY Sports

The Panthers have been busy in the opening days of NFL free agency with one clear goal in mind: protect franchise QB Bryce Young.

Carolina reportedly signed former Seahawks' guard Damien Lewis to a four-year, $52 million contract just one day after giving Robert Hunt $100 million. Now the Panthers have over $150 million committed to two offensive guards, solidifying an interior offensive line that ranked among the league's worst in 2023.

Young took the second-most sacks in the NFL last year (62) and the organization is appropriately committed to keeping him upright.

Panthers Roster News: Carolina Inks OL Damien Lewis to $52 Million Contract

A former third-round pick from the 2020 NFL Draft, Lewis started 16 games in three of his four seasons, notching 13 starts in the lone exception. Similar to Hunt, he's a consistent force in both the pass and run game while avoiding injuries, a highly sought-after trait for offensive linemen.

The Panthers are prioritizing offense over defense this offseason, having traded star pass rusher Brian Burns to the Giants Monday afternoon. They needed to bolster the offensive line after cutting veteran center Bradley Bozeman and it seems they've done just that.

While the importance of protecting Young is obvious, this is admittedly a lot of money to commit to two players who do not play premium positions. Perhaps it would've made more sense to allocate the money to wide receiver or defensive upgrades, though fans won't be upset if Young takes a leap forward in 2024.

Carolina is in the midst of a full-blown rebuild after a disastrous 2-15 season last year. Dave Canales favors a strong rushing attack and a powerful middle of the line, so these signings make sense in the grand scheme of his plan.

Nonetheless, the Panthers are +1000 to win the NFC South, meaning this is likely a multi-year rebuild barring a dramatic turnaround. If Canales is able to see his vision through, Carolina fans may soon seen the playoffs, especially given the relatively weak competition in the division.

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