Carolina Panthers, Denarius Moore Makes Too Much Sense


For all of the Carolina Panthers fans out there that watched other teams throw over $1 billion combined at free agents over the past six days, you are not alone in your frustration.  However, there are still a few players that fit this team, at a much more reasonable price than last week’s expensive players.  For a team in desperate need of playmakers at the wide receiver position, I present to you, Denarius Moore.

Moore, 26, offers the Panthers an explosive weapon that could benefit from a change of scenery. The talented receiver has spent his first four years in Oakland, and we all know that the Raiders have not necessarily been a blueprint for successful teams.

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He burst on the scene during his rookie campaign with a 33-reception, 618-yard, and five touchdown season in 2011.  Moore followed this up with an even more brilliant sophomore campaign, when he went for 51-741-7 on the stat sheet.  2013 was another great season, as he put up 695 yards, and five touchdowns.

It appeared that Moore was on the brink of stardom in the NFL as a WR after his third season.

The former Tennessee Volunteer receiver has electric speed (4.4 40-time), big play ability and a ton of potential.  Moore is great at getting behind defenders, and has incredible separation speed. He is a very fluid athlete that can adjust to poorly thrown balls, and is physical enough to handle himself in traffic.

Moore can line up on the outside or in the slot.  He is elusive once he touches the ball, which would make him an ideal candidate for the quick hitters, smoke routes and misdirection plays that Carolina incorporates.  His vision downfield is what allows him to rack up yards after the catch.  He has a career mark of 15.3 yards-per-catch.

Though I’m painting a picture of a phenomenal talent, there are deficiencies in Moore’s game.

He is frustratingly inconsistent.  His route running, from a technical standpoint, is not very precise.  He can become disinterested if the ball isn’t coming his way and his attitude can swing based on his involvement.  In 2014, he was benched a bit in Oakland, and only tallied 115 yards all season.

Based on all of these observations, I believe this player is screaming for a change of environment.

The Oakland franchise has been in shambles for many years.  Moore has had three head coaches and three offensive coordinators over his first four years in the league.

The 6’0″, 190-pound receiver has also watched a game of musical chairs at quarterback over these same four years.  Signal callers like Jason Campbell, Derek Carr, Matt McGloin, Carson Palmer, and Terrell Pryor have been under center during Moore’s time with the Raiders.  Of those, Palmer was the most secure, and Moore benefited from this.

Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

For the Panthers, Moore has been a quiet rumor that has bounced around the fan base for the past two years.  The thought being that he is young enough, and could reach his full potential under a wide receivers coach like Ricky Proehl.

GM Dave Gettleman has already shown Panther Nation that he sits out the first week of free agency, and avoids the frenzy much the way I do on Black Friday.  Gettleman lets the waters calm a bit, the market stabilizes, and then, he strikes.

Moore is the prototypical Gettleman signing, and everything about his being, makes him a prime catch for Carolina.

He is young, fills a need, and most of all, he presents value.

Of the remaining free agent wide receivers, Moore presents the greatest blend of production, shelf life and salary.

In my opinion, the five top WRs on the market currently are Michael Crabtree, Stevie Johnson, Denarius Moore, Hakeem Nicks and Cecil Shorts.

Each receiver has certain traits that separate themselves from the other, but Moore appears to show the most potential, and would arguably come at the lowest salary.  Crabtree and Johnson might be the most productive, but both are approaching 30 years old and will come with a much larger price tag, for their services.  Shorts is oft-injured and is not as big of a deep threat, the way Moore is.  Nicks is a local product and presents great value, but his production has plummeted over the past two seasons.

There might be reservations about whether Moore will ever be anything beyond an inconsistent home run receiver.  The kind of player that flashes incredible games, but disappears too often following these performances.

Considering the attitudes and approach to the game that is currently hovering around the Raiders’ franchise, I feel that Carolina could be a breath of fresh air for the talented receiver.

He would instantly give Cam Newton a speed demon opposite Kelvin Benjamin.  For a team that was lacking playmakers, Moore would erase that need.

Then, in the draft, Carolina could still add a dynamic WR to pair with Benjamin and Moore.

Imagine a player like Jaelen Strong, Nelson Agholor or Devin Smith alongside Benji and DMo.  It would turn the Panthers receivers from a plodding, possession focused unit, to a high-octane group.  Let’s not forget that Carolina still has two more speedsters in Corey Brown and Ted Ginn, Jr., as well as their top receiver the past two seasons, Greg Olsen.

That’s the kind of offense that Newton can command up and down the field, week in, and week out.

We all know Dave Gettleman loves to hit the bargain bin and reclaim projects that sputtered elsewhere.  Moore is far from a lost cause, and his potential is something that could be realized in Carolina.  For all of the negative floating around about Moore, I continuously see analysts, fans and experts echoing that he just needs to be with a different franchise.

It’s not a lack of talent that is keeping the ex-Raider from succeeding, rather he just needs a more stable environment to reach that potential.  For my money, Denarius Moore is the exact type of free-agent that this Panthers’ regime signs.

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