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Would Panthers be instant playoff contenders with DeAndre Hopkins?

The Carolina Panthers have whipped themselves up a pretty tasty dish on offense. They added one of the NFL’s most respected offensive minds as their head coach, a heralded up-and-comer as their coordinator, the top quarterback prospect of the 2023 draft and a handful of capable pass catchers.

But do they still need a cherry on top?

Bleacher Report’s Maurice Moton suggested that they could certainly use it—in the form of a three-time First-team All-Pro. Moton lists the Panthers as one of five teams that would become “instant” playoff contenders if they signed free-agent wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins:

This offseason, the Panthers have created a quarterback-friendly situation for the 21-year-old [Bryce Young].

Carolina hired Jim Caldwell, a former quarterbacks coach, passing game coordinator and lead skipper, and retired 17-year NFL quarterback Josh McCown to coach the position.

On top of that, the club signed wideouts Adam Thielen, DJ Chark Jr. and tight end Hayden Hurst. According to ESPN’s David Newton, running back Miles Sanders could see an expanded role in the short passing game.

Hopkins and Thielen would be a quality veteran duo for Young’s development. The rookie signal-caller completed 65.8 percent of his passes in three years at Alabama. He should be able to move the ball with two sure-handed wideouts on the outside, which may result in a playoff run.

For all the additions the Panthers have made to the unit this spring, they’re still without a clear No. 1 option in the passing game. Thielen, Chark, Terrace Marshall Jr. and even second-round pick Jonathan Mingo could all conceivably have a shot at being the top target.

So while a 31-year-old Hopkins may not be the same Hopkins from years past, he’d certainly fortify the top of the pecking order and give Young a proven game changer to throw to.

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Story originally appeared on Panthers Wire

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