Panthers GM Marty Hurney will be to blame if Taylor Moton walks

(Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports) Marty Hurney
(Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports) Marty Hurney /

General manager Marty Hurney could come in for significant pressure if the Carolina Panthers don’t extend stud offensive lineman Taylor Moton.

The Carolina Panthers have a real diamond on their hands in Taylor Moton. His influence has risen steadily over the last two years and his production during the 2020 season so far has been nothing short of exceptional.

Moton has earned a place in the discussion of the NFL’s best edge protectors. His flawless technique and explosive power have been there for all to see and this has played a leading role in the Carolina Panthers opening the campaign in very encouraging fashion after some early jitters.

Everything just looks so effortless where Moton is concerned. He is rarely flustered at right tackle and one only has to look at how All-Pro duo Chandler Jones and Joey Bosa avoided going up against him at all costs to see how highly the player is regarded by his peers.

This is sure to earn the former Western Michigan standout a big payday next spring. Moton is in the final year of his deal and is projected to make an annual salary of around $16.3 million, according to Spotrac. The Panthers would be foolish not to tie their best lineman down at the earliest possible opportunity. But anyone hoping for any immediate movement might just be out of luck.

The Carolina Panthers are playing it cool with upcoming contract talks.

General manager Marty Hurney recently appeared on the Kyle Bailey show on Sports Radio WFNZ, where he indicated that no discussions are currently taking place regarding a long-term deal for Moton. He claimed that no contract extensions are currently taking place with any player, which he put down to the increasing uncertainty surrounding just what the salary cap is going to be following a significant lack of gameday revenue due to COVID-19.

"“I think that timing is everything right now. We don’t have any active negotiations with anybody at the moment, but there is a time for everything. I think we just want to get a feel for the landscape with the cap and what that’s going to be. But there are a lot of players we’d like to keep and there is a time to do that.”"

The longer that Hurney and the Panthers wait to make Moton an offer, the more they will end up paying. This is a stud player who is an indispensable member of Carolina’s roster and there would be uproar with large sections of the team’s loyal fanbase if he was somehow allowed to walk.

This might be an unrealistic possibility. But it’s not hard to look far to see why there might be some trepidation regarding Hurney’s ability to get veteran players to sign on the dotted line.

James Bradberry, Greg Olsen, and Cam Newton were all allowed to leave in free agency. The likes of Mario Addison and Bruce Irvin also decided to take their chances elsewhere despite still playing at a high level and if the same happens with Moton, it might be enough for owner David Tepper to start looking at another viable alternative for Hurney’s job.

The ball is still in Carolina’s court. They have the option to franchise tag Moton if an agreement cannot be reached before the start of free agency. But it is a situation to monitor closely in the coming months and one that has the potential to also determine Hurney’s ability to convince Tepper he is worthy of another extension.

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It would be a disaster if the Panthers lost Moton. Hopefully, for the player and the organization, both sides can come to a mutual arrangement sooner rather than later.