In his sort of “State of the Panthers” address on Tuesday afternoon, Panthers general manager Marty Hurney made a statement when he asserted that the starting quarterback job in Carolina is very much up for grabs.
A statement of the obvious? Or not?
I’d lean more towards the idea that it’s not a statement of the obvious. In fact, this should help the Panthers’ quarterback quandary.
As all Panthers fans know, head coach John Fox is very public about his veteran-loving dedication to his players. Mainly Jake Delhomme, though there are other names that can be sprinkled in the mix.
So essentially, with Hurney making such a statement publicly, Fox cannot fall into his predictable ways come mini camps, training camp, and preseason. At least not at the quarterback position.
Which brings me to the contract status of Matt Moore. He is a restricted free agent. Given that management probably wants to see how he fares against Delhomme while competing for the starting job.
Curiously, the Panthers have also chosen not to franchise or transition any unrestricted free agents this offseason.
Anyone who is to become an unrestricted free agent will do so, and the Panthers will either trade or keep any restricted free agents on their roster.
Going with the notion that the Panthers aren’t offered a tantalizing trade for Matt Moore, and that they don’t extend his contract, Carolina should have a good battle for the starting job between Jake Delhomme and Moore.
Delhomme, who seems to have lost confidence in his own ability, looks to be ousted from the starting position by Moore; unless Moore’s ability has waned since the Panthers’ season-ending finale against the Saints, which I seriously doubt.
Matt Moore showed a lot of promise in the last five games of the Panthers 2009 campaign, leading the team to a 4-1 record. Delhomme on the other hand, contributed to the team’s 4-7 start.
In the span that Moore was the starting quarterback, he threw only two interceptions, compared to Delhommes’ 18 thrown interceptions in eight games.
Moore finished with a 61.6 completion percentage and an overall QB rating of 98.5, whereas Delhomme finished with a 55.5 completion percentage ans a QB rating of 59.4. The difference being, Delhomme played in eight games compared to Moore’s five, so had Moore started in eight games instead of five, his rating and percentage probably would have dropped a little bit, but still would have led Delhomme’s.
In the meantime, as for Moore’s future status with the team, the Panthers don’t really have to do anything with him in terms of a contract extension, until next year or between now and the start of training camp. They get the final option to match any offer a team will make to Moore, and my bet would be that the Panthers will do just that.