The Panthers thought Bashaud Breeland would be their marquee signing in free agency until he failed a physical. The team may regret letting him walk.
When Ron Rivera looked at his Carolina Panthers roster ahead of free agency he knew finding a top-flight cornerback had to be a top priority. That’s why the team moved so quickly to sign Bashaud Breeland to a three-year, $24 million deal. Unfortunately, his failed physical nixed the pact. Now that he seems healthy again, Carolina may experience some serious buyer’s remorse.
ESPN is reporting that Breeland is now ready to pass a physical. As such, he’s scheduled to visit the Arizona Cardinals and Indianapolis Colts in the coming days. It’s unclear what kind of contract he might be able to garner this late in free agency.
The Panthers have already moved on and filled the vacancy. They spent a second-round pick on Donte Jackson. The speedy, but small, former LSU star projects to become an immediate contributor in the Carolina secondary. The team also added Ross Cockrell to compete for time at nickel.
The real question now is whether or not the Panthers should have chosen to wait things out with Breeland. The team still enters the season with serious questions at left guard and safety. Spending a second rounder at one of those spots could have done wonders to improve the roster.
Of course, it’s also possible that Breeland isn’t truly healthy at this point. He and his agents certainly believe he is, but it’s possible he still can’t pass an NFL physical. Even if he does, there’s no guarantee that he still has the same explosion that made him such an effective player in Washington.
In the end, Carolina probably did what they had to do. Waiting on Breeland could have tied up valuable cap space for a significant portion of free agency. Spending a second rounder on Jackson could end up being a great decision if he develops into an immediate starter.
The question of Breeland is always going to be a “what if” scenario for the Panthers. If he signs with another team and plays well, it’s a decision that could come back to haunt the Panthers.