Carolina Panthers: Five Moves to Turn Around 2014 Season

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Acquire St. Louis Rams’ LT Jake Long for DE Greg Hardy

Mandatory Credit: Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports

Before blasting me for thinking that reality plays out like a game of Madden ’15, hear me out Cat Crave Nation.  The thought process here is reality and not a figment of EA Sports.

At first glance, you probably are thinking that nobody wants anything to do with Greg Hardy.  He is embroiled in a domestic violence court case and is collecting $13.1M on a one-year franchise deal.

Then, my thought is that Jake Long is a household name at left tackle, and why would the Rams trade the former first overall draft selection?

Well, I believe the Rams are underwhelmed with what Long has brought to the team and is aging.  St. Louis just drafted a ridiculously talented, future LT in Auburn’s Greg Robinson.  Also, the Rams resigned Rodger Saffold this past offseason.

Robinson has been playing guard this year along with Saffold, but both are more than capable of playing tackle.  If Long were traded, one could be moved over to tackle and one would stay at guard.  Eventually, Robinson will take over the LT slot, so why not use 2014 as a mulligan season with the deflating injuries that St. Louis has sustained.

As for Hardy, this is the kind of player that would justify the Rams trading Long.  Hardy would fill the role vacated by the injury to Chris Long and create an epic defensive end duo of Greg Hardy and Robert Quinn. Hardy’s athleticism allows him to flex to a 3-4 DE when called upon as well.

For Carolina, providing Cam Newton a veteran left tackle like Jake Long would instantly improve the offense.  The 29-year old LT has two years left on his contract after this year, and is a few million cheaper than Hardy’s contract.  The Panthers would be able to draft another offensive tackle, and have a year or two to groom him on the right side, with Long on the left.

Long’s presence would open up the running game, give Newton time in the pocket, and protect Carolina’s most important asset. I honestly can’t think of an acquisition that this offense needs more than a dependable left tackle.  The answer was clearly not already on the roster.