Do the Carolina Panthers actually have a plan in their pursuit of acquiring a new quarterback to replace Teddy Bridgewater in 2021?
Being “in on every deal” as new general manager Scott Fitterer outlined he was keen to do at his introductory press conference is one thing. But getting a clear, concise plan in place to move the Carolina Panthers forward is another matter entirely.
Speculation is rife surrounding the Panthers possibly trading for or using a high-end 2021 NFL Draft pick on a long-term solution at quarterback after Teddy Bridgewater failed to convince people he was the right man for the job this season. This promises to be an unprecedented offseason period for player movement at the position and Carolina is going to be extremely aggressive in their pursuit of a signal-caller.
But what does that mean, exactly?
In terms of getting a veteran on the trade market, it’s parting ways with the No. 8 overall selection and more if their failed pursuit of Matthew Stafford is any indication. The Panthers were so close to landing the player from the Detroit Lions that they even sought his medical records before the Los Angeles Rams came in with a whopping offer at the 11th hour.
So now what?
Carolina Panthers have plenty of QB options.
Plenty of rumors are swirling about a possible deal for Carson Wentz – although the Chicago Bears appear to be leading the race in this particular trade scenario. Others such as Marcus Mariota and Sam Darnold might also be targets if Fitterer lives up to his claims, which might not come at the big cost of others.
And then there is the biggest prize of all.
The Houston Texans are holding firm despite their franchise player demanding a trade. Whether Watson can force their hand at any stage remains to be seen. But there will be a queue of suitors driving up the extortionate asking price providing teams don’t look elsewhere growing tired of this saga to reach a conclusion.
Carolina is sure to be contemplating going all-in for Watson, which would be a franchise-altering move that would see expectations reach a level not seen since their Super Bowl run in 2015. However, a contingency plan needs to be in place in case this bombshell move doesn’t pan out.
Just what that is at the moment is unclear.
The Panthers are never going to come out and publically say what their intentions are. But one normally gets a pretty good indication from beat writers in the know and general comments from people in power.
All we know at this juncture?
The writing is on the wall for Bridgewater.
There is the NFL Draft to consider, although it would be a huge surprise if the top-three quarterbacks were still on the board by the time Carolina was on the clock at No. 8 overall.
A number of mock drafts have the Panthers moving up to take either Justin Fields or Zach Wilson. But only time will tell as to whether they want to give up capital when Fitterer has made no secret of his desire to accumulate more in the way of picks to help the team.
At least from the outside looking in, it could be seen as the Panthers throwing plenty of mud against the wall to see what sticks. Teams will know how desperate Carolina is to get an upgrade on Bridgewater before OTAs begin. So this makes it even more difficult to get the right sort of deal.
What prospects might the Carolina Panthers look to target if they trade down from No. 8 overall in the 2021 NFL Draft to acquire more selections?
All the team’s loyal fanbase can do is eagerly wait and see who the Panthers end up with. It’s going to be another wild offseason – so just strap yourselves in and try to enjoy it.