It’s no secret that the Panthers have two major question marks personnel-wise moving forward that the team still has to address, the left tackle and the quarterback positions. Left tackle is a spot where Panther fans have grown frustrated by the fact that the team hasn’t taken many risks and has tried to solve the position with band-aid instead of a long-term fix. The quarterback position is an area where the team has been more aggressive, but simply has swung and missed on the three quarterbacks that they have acquired since Matt Rhule’s arrival two years ago.
Teddy Bridgewater was a guy brought in because of his connection with Joe Brady in hopes that what he showed in 2019 in New Orleans was the start of a breakout for the former first-round pick. When that didn’t pan out, Panthers brass decided to take another swing for the fences with Sam Darnold, who they were banking on looking more like the player that the Jets thought they were getting when they drafted him instead of what they had gotten in the first three years of his career. With him failing to do that and getting banged up in the process, the team turned to an old flame in Cam Newton, hoping that the aging former star could find some of what made him the best quarterback in Panthers history and lead this group to the playoffs. Instead, everything has fallen apart and the team is now left with a big question at the position leading into the offseason.
Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk stopped by with the Mac Attack on Wednesday and said that every approach should be looked at this offseason.
“All options have to be on the table. It’s too early to know what you should do until you’ve identified all of your available options. Now is the time for the scouting department to be grinding on all of the quarterbacks that could be in range for the Panthers to draft, keeping the guys you have, trading for someone or signing someone. You look turn over every rock.”
-Mike Florio on the Mac Attack
So what exactly is the solution? Darnold is set to be with the team again next year unless the team can trade him or sustain the major cap blow that would come with releasing him, so you could just run it back with him, although that might not be the best solution for Matt Rhule if he is on the hot seat. As for Newton, he is free to walk after the season and with the way that he has played since his return game against Arizona, you can’t really blame the Panthers for wanting to move on.
Free agency looks rather thin in terms of who will be available and trading for someone like Russell Wilson or Aaron Rodgers would take a ton and for Wilson he would have to waive the No Trade Clause in his contract for that to even happen. Deshaun Watson would have to do the same and that would mean that his legal situations would likely have to be resolved for him to even be allowed to play regardless of when the trade was made in the offseason.
The draft route is a tricky one, as well, though, with many draft experts feeling like this class is one that simply lacks the future star quarterbacks that most classes have. Would the Panthers be willing to take a rookie quarterback and live with the results, potentially leaving Rhule as a lame-duck head coach?