Panthers Lose Standout Linebacker to NFC Rival in Free Agency

The Panthers will now need to replace two starting linebackers
Veteran linebacker Frankie Luvu signed a deal with the Washington Commanders, ending his time in Carolina
Veteran linebacker Frankie Luvu signed a deal with the Washington Commanders, ending his time in Carolina / Jim Dedmon-USA TODAY Sports

The Panthers have had a busy opening day of NFL free agency. Carolina is transforming its roster and they've now lost standout veteran linebacker Frankie Luvu to the Washington Commanders.

After bolstering their offensive line with a $100 million deal for Robert Hunt and seemingly losing Brian Burns in a matter of hours, the Panthers will now have to replace another key defensive starter.

Luvu spent the last three years in Carolina after playing for the Jets in his first three. His absence will leave a large hole in the middle of the Panthers' defense, as Luvu compiled a combined 236 tackles and 12.5 sacks in the last two years.

Panthers Roster News: LB Frankie Luvu Signs With Commanders

The three-year, $36 million deal is likely one the Panthers could have exceeded if they chose, but Carolina is clearly moving in a younger direction on defense while trying to bolster premium positions on offense.

QB Bryce Young suffered through a tough 2-15 season after being selected No. 1 overall and the Panthers are prioritizing offense under new head coach Dave Canales. Only 27 years old, Luvu was an integral part of the defense, though he was a liability in pass coverage (94.8 passer rating when targeted) and may not fit a new defensive scheme.

It's likely that more Panthers players will depart as Canales puts his fingerprint on the team, though Luvu was an ascending talent who just enjoyed a career-best year.

Given the Panthers' small chance at competing next year, it makes sense to shift the timeline towards younger defenders. We'll see what comes of Carolina's future moves as the organization builds around Bryce Young and we'll keep you updated as more news comes to light.

With the Panthers sitting at just +1400 to win the NFC South at BetMGM, it's unlikely they'll compete for the division next year. However, by shifting the timeline and embracing a youth movement, we could see those odds shrink considerably in the near future.

Despite the long odds, you can claim an instant $150 bonus from BetMGM right now with any $5 bet backing the Panthers! Sports betting is live in North Carolina and all you have to do is sign up, deposit at least $10 and bet $5 or more on any Panthers futures bet, then you'll immediately get $150 in bonus bets no matter what. Sign up for BetMGM now!

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