Panthers 2024 Free Agents: EDGE Brian Burns, LB Frankie Luvu, WR DJ Chark Headed for Open Market

Brian Burns will dominate the Panthers' 2024 offseason agenda, but he's not the only player headed for free agency in Carolina.

The Carolina Panthers weren’t aggressive in re-signing many of their internal free agents last year. OL Bradley Bozeman was the only incumbent Panther to land more than $2.5 million per season to remain in Carolina.

But the Panthers will have a far more impressive class of free agents in 2024. Which players will they prioritize next spring?

Who Are the Carolina Panthers’ Upcoming Free Agents?

EDGE Brian Burns

Pass rusher Brian Burns will be — by far — the Panthers’ most important free agent in 2024. Carolina reportedly declined an offer for Burns from the Los Angeles Rams at the 2022 trade deadline that included at least two first-round picks, and that rejection has since clouded extension talks with the 25-year-old.

You can see how Burns might be frustrated with the Panthers. If Carolina wasn’t willing to trade him for two first-rounders, the club must consider him incredibly valuable. But how valuable, exactly? Enough to match the four-year, $98 million extension the Chicago Bears gave fellow EDGE Montez Sweat after acquiring him from the Washington Commanders at this year’s deadline?

After holding onto Burns again in 2023, despite interest from around the league, the Panthers are running out of options. Letting him walk as a free agent — and picking up only a 2025 third-round compensatory pick — would be a disaster.

Provided extension negotiations don’t prove fruitful, Carolina can franchise Burns for #21.324 million, a more than tenable figure for a player of Burns’ caliber and age. The Panthers could also try to tag-and-trade Burns, but they might not be able to get more than the early second-round pick the Bears gave up for Sweat.

LB Frankie Luvu

After serving primarily as a backup over the first four seasons of his NFL career, Frankie Luvu became a starter with the Panthers in 2022 and hasn’t looked back. Effective against the run, in coverage, and as a blitzer, Luvu has become a crucial component of Carolina’s defense.

“I can’t say enough good things about (Luvu),” first-year Panthers DC Ejiro Evero said last year. “He epitomizes everything you want in a football player. He’s tough. He’s smart. He plays with great effort. He plays with great physicality. He’s a great teammate. And he’s had a number of games this year where you could say, ‘Wow.’”

One of those “wow” games came in Week 8 when Luvu posted 12 tackles (two for loss), two pass breakups, and a sack en route to being named the NFC’s Defensive Player of the Week.

It’s hard to imagine the Panthers letting Luvu get away, but he is due a significant raise over his $4.5 million salary. A deal similar to the four-year, $40 million contract the New York Giants gave LB Bobby Okereke this offseason should work for both sides.

WR DJ Chark

The Panthers were reportedly searching for a WR1-caliber pass catcher before the trade deadline, and it won’t be surprising if they continue to look for a star receiver for QB Bryce Young next offseason.

DJ Chark wasn’t expected to be an All-Pro after inking a $5 million deal with Carolina, but he’s averaged just 0.89 yards per route run, fourth-worst among the 71 wide receivers with at least 30 targets this season.

Chark, who had a lengthy injury record during his time with the Jacksonville Jaguars and Detroit Lions, missed Week 1 with a hamstring issue and is now battling an elbow injury. While he still has time to turn things around with the Panthers, Chark could be eyeing his fourth team in four years in 2024.

S Jeremy Chinn

Jeremy Chinn played nearly every snap for the Panthers from 2020-22, showing off his versatility by spending time as a safety, nickel corner, and linebacker. Last season, his role has been reduced under Evero, who suggested the Panthers view Chinn as a third-down specialist.

Chinn was heavily featured in trade rumors before this year’s deadline, but a mid-October quad injury — and a six-week recovery timeline — put a damper on that speculation.

Chinn’s usage didn’t increase once he returned from injured reserve, so there’s probably little reason for him to consider re-signing with the club that made him the 64th overall pick in the 2020 Draft.

CB C.J. Henderson

A failed trade acquisition by former head coach Matt Rhule, C.J. Henderson has been inconsistent in coverage since entering the NFL as a 2020 first-round pick.

MORE: Was Bryce Young the Wrong Choice for the Panthers?

Assuming he’s healthy, CB Jaycee Horn will be one of Carolina’s starting corners in 2024. Fellow CB Donte Jackson will be under contract, but he looks like a potential cut candidate. Even then, the Panthers seem likely to look elsewhere for secondary help instead of bringing Henderson back, especially after the club declined his fifth-year option for next season.

Other Panthers 2024 Free Agents

  • FB Giovanni Ricci (restricted free agent)
  • WR Laviska Shenault
  • WR Ihmir Smith-Marsette (restricted free agent)
  • OT David Sharpe
  • C Justin McCray
  • EDGE Yetur Gross-Matos
  • EDGE Marquis Haynes
  • DT Henry Anderson
  • DT DeShawn Williams
  • DT Chris Wormley
  • LB Tae Davis
  • LB Kamu Grugier-Hill
  • LB Deion Jones
  • CB Shaquil Griffin
  • CB Troy Hill
  • CB David Long Jr.
  • S Matthias Farley
  • S Sam Franklin
  • LS J.J. Jansen

Miss football? The 2024 NFL Draft is almost here, boss. Pro Football Network has you covered with everything from team draft needs to the Top 100 prospects available. Plus, fire up PFN’s Mock Draft Simulator to put yourself in the general manager’s seat and make all the calls!

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