Carolina Panthers: Delhomme is the best free agent signing in team history

(Photo by Nick Laham/Getty Images) Jake Delhomme
(Photo by Nick Laham/Getty Images) Jake Delhomme /

As the Carolina Panthers continue to make moves in free agency, we can’t help but remember how amazing it was many years ago to see the surreal impact of free agent quarterback Jake Delhomme.

The time was 2003. The Carolina Panthers were coming off an abysmal 7-9 season, which landed them at the bottom of the NFC South. It was a tough time back then as nothing worked for the Panthers and as they prepared for the offseason ahead, they knew they needed to do something different at quarterback.

As the 2003 free agency went underway, they decided to take a chance on a quarterback right from within their very own division. Backup quarterback Jake Delhomme was tired of waiting around for his chance to shine with the New Orleans Saints and opted to head to a new team that would be willing to let him potentially run the show.

And boy, did Delhomme run the show alright once he got an opportunity. The Panthers decided to bring him in as a free agent to backup quarterback Rodney Peete at the time. Thank goodness they did as in the Panthers’ season opener against the Jacksonville Jaguars, Peete was abysmal. He was so bad, head coach John Fox didn’t think twice in benching him in favor of seeing what Delhomme can do instead.

Not only did Delhomme step in and beat the Jaguars, but it would also be the start of something special. The Panthers ended the season with one of the best turnarounds in NFL history with a final record of 11-5, a crazy postseason that saw them beat the Dallas Cowboys, St. Louis Rams, and Philadelphia Eagles en route to Super Bowl 38.

Jake Delhomme is the best free agent signing in Carolina Panthers history

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Unfortunately, the Delhomme train ended at the big game as they lost to the New England Patriots but it will go down as one of the best seasons ever. Who would have thought that Delhomme would come right in and immediately start taking care of business as a backup free agent?

There have been a lot of great free agent signings for the Panthers over the years but so far in franchise history, none have come anywhere close to Delhomme. It’s crazy to see so many years later how quickly Delhomme became an impact player in his first season. He literally came from out of nowhere and gave Panthers fans one hell of a ride.

Along the way, Delhomme would represent the Panthers in the 2005 Pro Bowl and earn many accolades and set records that have only recently been broken in the last few years. He even took the Panthers again to the postseason in 2005 and 2008.

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Overall, there has yet to be a free agent the Panthers have signed that accomplished as much as Delhomme did back in 2003 as he enjoyed seven years with the franchise. When it comes to the most important position on the team, nobody did it better for the Panthers as Delhomme which makes him the best free agent signing in franchise history.