Panthers Sign Free Agent Lineman to Massive Contract in Bid to Protect Bryce Young

Bryce Young has a new protector on the line.
The Panthers signed star guard Robert Hunt to a five-year, $100 million contract
The Panthers signed star guard Robert Hunt to a five-year, $100 million contract / Sam Navarro-USA TODAY Sports

The Panthers made their first major splash of the NFL's free agency period, reportedly agreeing to a massive $100 million contract with former Dolphins star offensive lineman Robert Hunt.

A former second-round pick from the 2020 draft, Hunt will now solidify Carolina's line with experience playing both guard and tackle, even though interior lineman is probably his best fit.

This is not only a massive contract given current negotiations with star defender Brian Burns, but it's also a signal from the front office that they recognize their need to put better pieces around 2023 No. 1 overall pick Bryce Young to find success moving forward.

Panthers News: Carolina Inks OG Robert Hunt to 5-Year, $100 Million Deal

Hunt carried a 77.1 blocking grade from Pro Football Focus, well above league average, as he established himself as one of the NFL's best guards for a Miami Dolphins' offense that ranked near the top in every major offensive category in 2023.

Bryce Young was sacked 62 times last season, second-most in the NFL, so upgrading the offensive line was a massive priority for Carolina. The Panthers released veteran center Bradley Bozeman, creating an even bigger need for strong interior play.

While Hunt only played in 11 games in 2023, he started all 17 in 2022 and 2021. That kind of stability will do wonders as new head coach Dave Canales looks to rebuild the offense, so this signing has to be considered a big win for the Panthers.

It's expected the Panthers will continue to be proactive in adding talent around Young. They're committed to their franchise QB and now must do everything in their power to ensure the Alabama standout can be successful.

Improvement may take time, as the Panthers are currently listed at just +900 to win the NFC South. If they keep making sound moves like this though, Carolina could be competing for a playoff spot sooner than you may think.

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