One of the Panthers’ top free agents likely will be testing the market when the new league year begins next week.
Tackle Daryl Williams began extension talks with the Panthers in June, as reported by the Observer at the time.
But when it became clear that there was a gap in the financial expectations of the team and Williams’ camp, negotiations stalled.
Williams then suffered two knee injuries, first in training camp the following month and then in Week 1 of the regular season, and went on injured reserve. According to a source with knowledge of the situation, those circumstances did not do much to bring the two sides any closer in negotiations.
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Any ongoing conversations, however, were characterized by a league source as “productive,” but because the start of free agency is so close, it is too late in the process for Williams to not test the market.
Teams may begin contract talks with agents on March 11, before the new league year begins on March 13 at 4 p.m.
Williams, a fourth-round pick out of Oklahoma in 2015, started all 16 games for the Panthers in 2017. That season, he played every offensive snap, finishing the year as Pro Football Focus’ highest-rated right tackle and with second-team All-Pro honors.
Williams spent the 2018 season recovering from surgery to repair the second knee injury.
The Panthers could still try to re-sign him. But if Carolina is unable to bring Williams back in free agency, the team would start Taylor Moton, a second-round pick in 2017.
Moton played there in place of Williams in 2018 and fared well. Carolina feels confident in his development alongside right guard Trai Turner, a four-time Pro-Bowler.