Despite their need to address the linebacker corps, the Las Vegas Raiders opted to release veteran Tahir Whitehead this offseason.
The decision to part ways with Whitehead was part of their efforts to clear up $6.25 million in salary-cap space to work with in free agency. They have since managed to put this extra space to good use with a number of notable additions on both sides of the ball.
Meanwhile, Whitehead was weighing his options on the market as a free agent. It seems he has already found a new home.
According to NFL Network Insider Ian Rapoport, Whitehead signed a one-year deal with the Carolina Panthers for the 2020 NFL season:
— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) March 23, 2020
Whitehead also took to social media to announce the signing himself:
The Panthers’ interest is certainly understandable considering the retirement of linebacker Luke Kuechly has left a notable void at the center of their defense. Although they appear to be in the midst of ushering in a significant rebuild, the addition of a veteran like Whitehead should help serve as a stabilizing factor for this group while they recover from Kuechly’s departure.
Whitehead spent the last two seasons with the Raiders and started every game, which is a testament to his durability. He finished the 2019 NFL season with 108 tackles, however, he failed to register a single turnover. Regardless, he still managed to play an integral role as the shot-caller on defense following the suspension of linebacker Vontaze Burfict and it appears he now finds himself in familiar territory with Carolina.
Meanwhile, the Raiders are still left with some major depth issues at linebacker. They have signed a pair of linebackers in Cory Littleton and Nick Kwiatkoski already, but they still need a few more, which likely means head coach Jon Gruden and general manager Mike Mayock could be going for a more youthful approach through the 2020 NFL Draft.