Charles Tillman, CB
The name that has garnered the most interest for the Carolina Panthers in the rumor mill has been Antonio Cromartie. It certainly makes sense to an extent considering Cromartie is a former Pro Bowler who has done an excellent job forcing interceptions. This is something the Panthers did very well last year, leading the league in his category.
However, if the Panthers want to add a veteran cornerback Charles Tillman would make more sense for this defense. Now Tillman will need to prove that his knee is healthy enough after suffering an ACL injury at the end of the year but if he can play, he would probably be the choice. The former Chicago Bear knows this defense after playing for the Panthers last year and could bring excellent veteran leadership to the position.
Tillman also has recently said that they only team he would want to play for if he came back would be the Carolina Panthers.
The Panthers are very inexperienced at cornerback with Robert McClain and Teddy Williams being the most veteran with only five seasons in the league. The focus this past NFL Draft was cornerback and the team did draft three cornerbacks and they could potentially see two of them play significant snaps this year.
The experience Tillman brings and the knowledge of this defense would be incredibly valuable for these younger players.
Will Beatty, OT
The biggest concern for the Panthers has to be the depth at offensive tackle. The Panthers recently extended Michael Oher's contract and solidified his role as the team's starting left tackle. However, after Oher there isn't much experience with David Foucalt being the primary backup.
If the Panthers are concerned about the depth at left tackle, a player like Will Beatty would be a logic option for the Panthers. The former New York Giant tackle missed the entire 2015 season after suffering a torn pectoral muscle and was released by the Giants earlier this offseason.
The fact that Beatty is coming off an injury, he may be willing to sign a one-year deal. This would give him an additional year to really strengthen the muscle and it would provide the Panthers a reliable, veteran backup if needed.
Donte Whitner, S
The Panthers right now are expected to start the season with either Tre Boston or Dean Marlowe opposite Kurt Coleman at the safety position to replace Roman Harper. If the Panthers want a veteran safety, a player like Donte Whitner wouldn't be a bad option for this defense.
Whitner has never been known for his pass coverage but rather his strength lies in playing the run and being a hard hitter. He was released by the Cleveland Browns earlier this offseason after 187 tackles the past two years.
At 30 years of age, Whitner still has plenty left in the tank and at the very least provide veteran depth for the position.
Dwight Freeney, DE
The last player is probably the least likely of this group of free agents but adding a pass rusher like Dwight Freeney could be a perfect fit for this defense. The 15-year veteran played for the Arizona Cardinals last year and was highly productive in a limited role with eight sacks in 11 games.
The Panthers meanwhile have found success with older defensive ends after trading for Jared Allen last year. This upcoming season is expected to be a breakout year for third-year defensive end Kony Ealy as he should step into the starting lineup full time. However a player like Freeney shouldn't take away any playing time from the rising star. At this point in Freeney's career, he is not an every down defensive end and excels as a situational pass rusher.
According to Bleacher Report's Mike Freeman, Freeney recently has said that the Cardinals are his first choice but "I'm going to play again next year," he said. "It's 95 percent. But I can't see that 5 percent happening."