Omar Bayless has a big future with the Panthers despite injury

(Photo by Michael Chang/Getty Images) Omar Bayless
(Photo by Michael Chang/Getty Images) Omar Bayless /

Omar Bayless has been a big hit with the Carolina Panthers during training camp, and he could have a bright future with the organization despite his recent injury setback.

Omar Bayless has suffered a major setback in his bid to earn targets with the Carolina Panthers in 2020. The wide receiver has made his presence felt at training camp in no uncertain terms. But he is now facing a spell on the sidelines at the most critical time of the preparation stage.

Bayless missed practices over the last week with knee soreness, which has required surgery. Carolina Panthers head coach Matt Rhule said the wideout could be out for anything between two weeks and two months. And this has put into question his place on the 53-man roster after receiving an injured reserve designation earlier this week.

This is something of a blow for the player. But at least Bayless had the chance to showcase what he can bring to the Panthers. Teammates and coaching staff have been raving about his contribution during team drills. And Rhule himself stated that he is excited to see what the receiver can do going forward.

All signs point to Bayless being around after the final cuts are made. Whether that is on the roster or as a protected practice squad player will depend on how many wideouts Carolina is going to take into the 2020 season.

The Carolina Panthers should look at the bigger picture with Omar Bayless.

Their first three starting spots are cemented with D.J. Moore, Robby Anderson, and Curtis Samuel, who could be one of the NFL’s best trios next season. Seth Roberts, Pharoh Cooper, and Brandon Zylstra are also set to be included after lighting up camp. So it might be a case of stashing Bayless on the practice squad to avoid losing the player altogether, especially following the acquisition of former XFL standout Cam Phillips.

While it might not seem it, this represents a fine achievement. Bayless went undrafted despite being one of college football’s most productive receivers in 2019 with Arkansas State. And it is clear he has used this as a source of motivation during his initial period at the next level.

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The Panthers now know they have a player with enormous potential in Bayless. He was outperforming the majority of other rookies before getting hurt. And he even got the better of some of the more established cornerbacks in Carolina on a consistent basis.

Bayless will still need to prove his worth on the field, which the Panthers have yet to see with no preseason games on the schedule before their Week 1 opener against the Las Vegas Raiders. However, the early signs are extremely positive for a wideout that finished his time in college with 176 receptions, 2,764 receiving yards, 26 touchdowns, and a yards-per-catch average of 15.6.

Carolina’s coaching staff clearly think a lot of Bayless. He has come in with a resolute mindset and has the ability to match, which has also earned the respect of his teammates in a short space of time.

The rookie has a very bright future with the Panthers if he recovers well and quickly from his surgery. It appeared to be a shrewd free-agent pickup at the time. And Bayless has already exceeded expectations to make it this far.

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He has stronger ambitions than just being part of a roster. And judging by what we have seen so far, you would not bet against Bayless making a real difference in the coming years.