The Carolina Panthers are in a tough situation right now. They fired their OC Joe Brady, signed Cam Newton to be their starter when Sam Darnold is out, spent multiple draft picks on Darnold, and picked up his $18M 5th year option. Early in the season, it looked like their rebuild was headed in the right direction, winning against the NY Jets, New Orleans Saints, and the Houston Texans to begin the season. Sam Darnold also looked completely different in those games, totaling 888 yards, 3 TDs, and an INT. Since then, they’ve went 2-10 & are last in their division. So, where did they go wrong this year?
Leading up to the trade deadline, they were very active in all trade discussions:
Trading for Sam Darnold, CJ Henderson, Stephon Gilmore, and Darryl Johnson.
They were also fairly active on the FA market too, acquiring:
Haason Reddick, Cam Newton, Pat Elflein, AJ Bouye, Cameron Erving, and Ameer Abdullah.
Building a secondary consisting of Jeremy Chinn, AJ Bouye, CJ Henderson, Stephon Gilmore, Donte Jackson, and Jaycee Horn was a fantastic start. Now, building an offense of DJ Moore, Robby Anderson Terrace Marshall, Chuba Hubbard, and Christian McCaffrey (granted he’s always injured), is a great start. So, where did they go wrong? Taking a flier on Sam Darnold with PJ Walker as your backup plan is a good start. Putting the blame on your successful collegiate OC is another area of failure.
What does 2022 look like for them at QB?
Sam Darnold ($18M price tag). They’re pretty much tied down to Darnold for next year.
Cam Newton. Rhule still loves Newton (don’t ask why)
Kenny Pickett. Fits their offense well & should be available when they pick
Tyrod Taylor. Taylor has always been a nice bridge QB and could find a home in Carolina for a couple of seasons.
Watson is an interesting option for them. They were reported to be one of the front runners for the QB before the deadline but backed out due to his price tag. With a projected $29M in cap space next off-season, he could be in play for Carolina again.
The Panthers’ future looks pretty murky, but they could find success next year if they can find a QB & another offensive lineman.