football

The Deshaun Watson saga continues to be the most dominant headline around the NFL as the league gets set to turn the calendar to a new league year tomorrow morning. Last Friday, the criminal cases against the current Houston Texans quarterback were dismissed and while there are still civil depositions that still need to be resolved, the trade market for him has hit its peak since before the allegations were initially brought to light.

When it comes to the 2022 NFL Draft and the Carolina Panthers, it feels like the majority of the buzz right now surrounds the fact that the team looks like the most likely spot for the first quarterback to be selected. The success of Malik Willis has some wondering if the Panthers could be looking in that direction with the glaring need at the position and Jason La Canfora of CBS Sports has reported that people inside of the Panthers building are also really excited by what they see from Kenny Pickett.

The Panthers completed what will hopefully be their final round of hires for Matt Rhule's rebuilt staff this offseason earlier this week with the hirings of Kevin M. Gilbride (tight ends coach), Joe Dailey (wide receivers coach) and Robert Kugler (assistant offensive line coach) to the offensive staff on Monday. This completed a nearly complete revamp of the team's offensive staff, which saw four members of this past year's group either parted ways with or moved on from on their own, headlined by the in-season departure of offensive coordinator Joe Brady who was replaced earlier this offseason by former Giants head coach and offensive coordinator Ben McAdoo.

On Thursday night, the NFL announced that the Carolina Panthers will get their first Hall of Fame inductee later this summer after they announced during the NFL Honors Ceremony. Mills played for the Panthers from 1995 to 1997 to close out his career, totaling 331 total tackles, 10.0 sacks and seven interceptions. In those three seasons, Mills finished in the top five in Defensive Player of the Year voting and was voted All-Pro in 1996. In his 12 year NFL career, Mills played in 181 career games, racking up 1,265 total tackles, 20.5 sacks, 23 fumble recoveries and 11 interceptions, earning five trips to the Pro Bowl and being named All-Pro the one time.

As the 2022 NFL Draft continues to draw closer and draft season takes full effect, the question surrounding the Carolina Panthers seems to be about which key offensive position they value the most and would be willing to spend a high draft pick on. Is it the offensive tackle position, where the team had yet another chance this past draft to get their long-awaited left tackle of the future to finally replace Jordan Gross after all of these years, or is it the quarterback position, where the team decided to take a flier on a veteran quarterback that struggled and has them in an even worse spot that a year ago?

Last Monday, legendary quarterback Tom Brady announced his retirement from the league after 22 seasons via his social media platforms and over the weekend, he spoke for the first time publicly about the decision. One of the most interesting quotes that came from it, though, was when he was asked about the possibility of being approached by teams at some point before or during the season when a quarterback goes down with an injury. "I'm just going to take things as they come," Brady told his co-host on the Let's Go Podcast, Jim Gray. "The best way to put, you never say never, but at the same time, I feel very good about my decisions. I don't know how I'll feel six months from now, and if that will change, it most likely won't."

The biggest story this week in the NFL looked like it was going to be the official retirement of Tom Brady after 22 years in the NFL, but that has pushed to the back burner and rightfully so, for the lawsuit filed against the NFL by former Miami Dolphins head coach Brian Flores. In the suit that was filed on Tuesday, Flores says that prior to his scheduled interview with the New York Giants, Patriots head coach Bill Belichick texted him a congratulatory message on getting the job as the team's head coach. Shortly after sending the message, Belichick responded apologizing and saying that the message was intended for Brian Daboll, who eventually was eventually named the Giants coaching earlier this week.

The Panthers have a lot of work to this offseason as they look to turn the rebuild back in the right direction under Matt Rhule in Year 3. It starts at quarterback and left tackle, the two spots that have been talked about since the middle of the season as glaring question marks for this team. These are two positions where there is a strong chance that the team addresses this at all costs, whether that is through the draft or in free agency.

Tuesday, the future of the NFC South was shaken up a bit around the Carolina Panthers when Saints head coach Sean Payton announced that he was stepping away from the New Orleans Saints after a 16-year stint as the team's head coach. This is a major blow for a Saints team who was already going through the process of replacing the legendary Drew Brees and will now have to find a way to replace the most successful coach in franchise history.

It's no secret that the Panthers are in desperate need of offensive line help and late last week, ESPN draft analyst Mel Kiper Jr. had the team addressing that need. In his first mock draft of the season, he had the team taking Mississippi State offensive tackle Charles Cross, the third tackle off the board behind Alabama tackle Evan Neal, who he had going 3rd to the Texans, and Ikem Ekwonu, who he had going 5th to the Giants.