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Panthers 2022 season opener countdown: 34 days to go

We’re counting down the days until the Panthers kick off the 2022 season.

NFL: OCT 31 Panthers at Falcons Photo by Rich von Biberstein/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

We’re 34 days away from the Panthers 2022 season opener, so that means today’s countdown piece is devoted to No. 34 on the roster — safety Sean Chandler.

Chandler (5’10, 200) entered the NFL as an undrafted free agent in 2018 after a stellar college career at Temple. And, yes, he played under Matt Rhule during his college days. Chandler spent his first three professional seasons with the New York Giants and bounced around between their practice squad and 53-man roster throughout his tenure there. He played in 32 games with the Giants primarily as a special teams regular, though he did play a total of 174 defensive snaps. He had 26 tackles, one tackle for a loss, one pass defended, and two fumble recoveries over his three seasons in New York.

In October 2020 the Panthers signed Chandler off the Giants practice squad and he ended up spending the remainder of the season on the Panthers practice squad. He signed a future/reserve contract with Carolina in 2021.

Last year Sean Chandler became a key member of the Panthers secondary and special teams. He appeared in 15 games with seven starts as a free safety. He played 539 defensive snaps (56 percent of the team’s total) and another 230 special teams snaps. Chandler registered a career-high 48 tackles with one pass defended and one forced fumble. His PFF grade of 60.7 was solid given his $920,000 cap hit. His performance ranked 58th of 94 safeties.

The website Ourlads projects Chandler to be the team’s No. 3 free safety this upcoming season behind free agent addition Xavier Woods and Kenny Robinson, though the position battle between Chandler and Robinson should be wide open. If Chandler can build on his good play from 2021, his contribution in 2022 will once again far exceed his tiny cap hit which is estimated at $1.035 million, per Spotrac. At age 26 he should just be entering his prime and is expected to be an important rotational piece for the Panthers this year.

What do you think, Panthers fans? Will Sean Chandler continue on his upward trajectory in 2022?