While the Carolina Panthers have much to be happy about following their benchmark 12-4 season that signaled, not only the coaching skill of Ron Rivera, but also the development of Cam Newton, they are still severely lacking in their passing offense. Despite their amazing record, the Panthers managed just the 29th best passing offense in the league and were carried largely by their excellent defense. While part of the offensive struggles were on the still maturing Newton, their offensive options would open up greatly if he had more targets on the field. Steve Smith, while very potent, can easily be double-teamed without the lack of another threat on the field. Adding another weapon at the No. 2 receiver spot, or even a solid slot receiver, would change that by forcing defenses to adapt to another threat. This would open up deeper passing lanes for Newton and give the passing game some much-needed flexibility.
As things stand, the Panthers are a very strong football team. However, as with even the best teams, they could be improved during the offseason. Both free agency and the 2014 NFL Draft have plenty of options that the Panthers could consider, but a solid receiver is a must. Their defense was one of the best in the league last year and should remain at the top as long as everyone stays healthy. Newton has proven himself to be a franchise quarterback, and he needs more targets to really be able to pass at his full potential. There is no guarantee who Carolina will go after as there are many good free agents such as Anquan Boldin and Eric Decker along with strong draft picks in Kelvin Benjamin and Davante Adams. However, whatever happens the Panthers need a complement to their strong defense. And with the quarterback position filled for the coming years, that starts with the wide receivers.
Joseph Scalise is a writer for Rantsports.com follow him on twitter