On the identical day they landed star cornerback Stephon Gilmore in a trade, the Carolina Panthers additionally made a push to signal former Dallas Cowboys linebacker Jaylon Smith, league sources instructed ESPN.
Shortly after sending a 2023 sixth-round draft choose to the New England Patriots for Gilmore, the Panthers made makes an attempt to persuade Smith to hitch Carolina fairly than the Green Bay Packers. The Washington Football Team additionally expressed curiosity in Smith, who had mutual curiosity in each Carolina and Washington, based on sources.
However Smith ultimately decided to reunite with Packers coach Matt LaFleur, whom he spent two seasons with at Notre Dame. Smith and LaFleur had remained in contact and have immense respect for one another, and that relationship in the end helped persuade Smith to go to Inexperienced Bay, sources mentioned.
But it surely wasn’t for an absence of curiosity and a focus from the Panthers (3-1), a group that had designs to make one of many league’s high defenses even higher.
Panthers defensive again Donte Jackson mentioned Wednesday that the Gilmore commerce despatched a message to the protection that “they’re assured we are able to win now,” and normal supervisor Scott Fitterer echoed that sentiment, saying the rationale he pushed to amass Gilmore was “to win now.”