2021 NFL Free Agency: 4 early targets the Panthers should be watching

Saints, Jared Cook
Jeremy Brevard-USA TODAY Sports

Jared Cook

The tight end position is one of the larger questions looming over Carolina after the departure of Greg Olsen and could be again in 2021. But Jared Cook could be their answer

The 33-year-old tight end had an excellent two seasons in 2017-18 and 2018-19 with the Raiders before playing for the Saints last season, where he had a career-high nine touchdowns.

The Panthers have Ian Thomas, but this will be his first full year as the starting tight end. Over two seasons, he has 52 receptions for 469 yards, and only three touchdowns.

Ultimately, the Panthers need to find Olsen’s replacement. Cook certainly won’t be the answer long-term, but could give production similar to Olsen, while also mentoring young tight ends like Thomas.