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Rumor: Could Tommy Stevens find his way to the Panthers after all?

(Jim Brown-USA TODAY Sports) Tommy Stevens
(Jim Brown-USA TODAY Sports) Tommy Stevens /

Tommy Stevens might end up with the Carolina Panthers after all.

A farcical saga between the Carolina Panthers, Tommy Stevens, and the New Orleans Saints during the 2020 NFL Draft might take another twist in the coming days.

The quarterback was released by Sean Payton‘s men from their practice squad after failing to make a lasting impression following the team’s decision to move the player to a tight end. But this might be the Carolina Panthers’ gain both in the short and long-term.

According to Amie Just of, the Panthers are reportedly already showing a keen interest to bring Stevens into the fold, which would make a ton of sense given how much they coveted the player during the later portion of the draft ahead of the undrafted free agency period.

Stevens has a previous relationship with Carolina’s offensive coordinator Joe Brady that looked set to land him on the roster ahead of training camp. The Saints had other ideas and traded a 2021 sixth-round pick to get another selection and take the Mississippi State prospect.

The Carolina Panthers think a lot of Tommy Stevens.

This move came with some scrutiny from the NFL regarding conversations between New Orleans and the Panthers, which became a “project” for Payton in pursuit of keeping him out of Carolina’s clutches.

A move to tight end soon followed, but Stevens hasn’t shown the Saints enough to warrant a prolonged stay with the organization. If the Panthers go ahead and bring him on, it would represent something that’s come around full circle for the player and the parties involved.

Whether Carolina would use Stevens as a quarterback or in his new-found position is unclear. But given the struggles of Ian Thomas and Chris Manhertz to fully immerse themselves in the passing game under Brady, the coaching staff might go with the latter.

Much will depend on just how well Stevens has made the transition to an offensive weapon rather than a distributor. However, it’s clear that the Panthers and Brady in particular see something in the player given the fuss that was made of him following the draft.

It’s a little late in the day for Stevens to come in and make an immediate impression. He’ll need to learn the playbook quickly if the move eventually came to fruition and adjusting to a different locker room is another potential stumbling block to overcome.

The situation regarding Stevens and the NFC South rivals made absolutely no sense at the time. And as fortune would have it, it’s cost the Saints a late-rounder next year for Payton to do nothing more than flex his muscles and feel like he got one over on his former offensive assistant at the time.

The NFL can be a petty world, at times.

What is important for Stevens right now is to find a new home quickly, where that’s in Carolina or elsewhere.

Joining a team that thought a lot of him during the evaluation process would be a confidence boost, of that there is little doubt. But impressing the coaching staff in double-quick time will be crucial to his chances of getting any sort of extended stay with the franchise.