Carolina Panthers: Familiarity could help Dan Arnold shine

(Chris Pedota/ via IMAGN Content Services) Dan Arnold
(Chris Pedota/ via IMAGN Content Services) Dan Arnold /

Dan Arnold’s familiarity with Carolina Panthers offensive coordinator Joe Brady’s system could help the free-agent signing shine in 2021.

Another potential weapon in the passing game was acquired by the Carolina Panthers on Friday. The team confirmed that tight end Dan Arnold would be joining the set-up on a two-year deal from the Arizona Cardinals, which is another big boost for whoever is under center in 2021.

Just who that is going to be is unclear. But the Panthers have added some notable tools to complement what’s already on the roster in the hope of making the necessary strides next time around.

Arnold is coming off a career year with the Cardinals and much like recent signing Haason Reddick, the veteran has familiarity with the coaching staff. The former wide receiver was part of the New Orleans Saints when Joe Brady was an offensive assistant, so this previous knowledge of the scheme should serve him well.

Make no mistake, Carolina needs Arnold to hit the ground running.

Carolina Panthers must get better production at TE.

They got next to no meaningful production from Ian Thomas and Chris Manhertz in the wake of their decision to part ways with prolific veteran Greg Olsen, which really hurt them at times during the campaign.

While it’s unlikely Arnold replicates what Olsen managed to achieve with the Panthers before joining the Seattle Seahawks, he is a dependable weapon who runs routes incredibly efficiently.

The Wisconsin-Platteville product collected 31 receptions from 45 targets in 2020 on his way to 438 receiving yards and four touchdowns. This was more than Thomas and Manhertz combined and Arnold’s 24 first downs accumulated is further evidence of his ability to come up with the goods when it matters most.

He is still learning on the job, to a certain extent. So there might be even more to come from Arnold once the player learns how to assist more in blocking and fully refines as a tight end.

This is a low-risk, high-reward pickup by the Panthers, who might still look to bring in an athletic young prospect at the position in the 2021 NFL Draft. Florida’s exceptional talent Kyle Pitts is obviously a tempting proposition in the first round. However, head coach Matt Rhule stated his belief that there could be some value to be had lower down the pecking order.

It was a slow start to free agency for the Panthers. But general manager Scott Fitterer is slowly building a nice roster that promises to be exciting to watch in 2021.

Much will depend on what Carolina decides to do with Teddy Bridgewater, who might be the only weak link by the time they’re done with recruitment this spring. The Deshaun Watson legal matter has thrown a significant spanner in the works, so going down the draft route might be the best solution at this juncture.

Arnold’s presence on the roster will do more good than harm, of that there is little doubt. He offers something a little bit different to what the Panthers have currently and his assured hands between the hash marks are welcomed considering Curtis Samuel departed for the Washington Football Team.

It doesn’t appear as if the Panthers are done yet. They still have some funds to work with and a couple of key positional groups to strengthen. But the signing of Arnold could be a shrewd one if he builds on the momentum generated in 2020 within a scheme he has worked in before.