We’re 61 days away from the Carolina Panthers 2021 season opener, so that means today’s countdown piece is devoted to No. 61 on the roster — center Matt Paradis.
Paradis enters 2021 as the presumed starting center, a role he’s held for the past two seasons. He signed in Carolina in 2019 for $29 million over three years, after spending his first five years in Denver.
Paradis is a durable asset for a growing Panthers offensive line. He’s played in all 16 games five times in his career. The only year he missed any time was in 2018 because he fractured his fibula in week nine while playing for the Broncos.
Former Ohio State center Pat Elflein should take the backup center job, or it’s possible Sam Tecklenburg take it.
As a lowly sixth round pick back in 2014, Paradis’ first contract was a measly $2.31 million, dispensed over four years. His signing bonus was just $91,000.
This year the 31-year-old will earn a little bit more than that: $9,530,000.
With Paradis and Moton firmly planted in their starting roles, the Panthers’ offensive line battles will be a must-watch for fans. If the Panthers go with veteran players, it would like be Elflein and John Miller taking the guard spots, with Cameron Erving possibly earning the left tackle role.
But those spots are very much up for grabs.
Rookie tackle Brady Christensen may end up taking a starting role at tackle or guard, while rookie guard Deonte Brown is also lurking in the background. Several NFL Network analysts are high on the Alabama product, predicting that Brown will eventually start.
In fact, I might argue that the offensive line will be the number one position group to watch this training camp.