Could Panthers QB Will Grier get a chance to shine in 2021?

(Jim Dedmon-USA TODAY Sports) Will Grier
(Jim Dedmon-USA TODAY Sports) Will Grier /

Will Grier’s time with the Carolina Panthers hasn’t been smooth sailing so far, but could the quarterback finally get a prolonged chance to shine in 2021

Will Grier taking snaps with Christian McCaffrey in a recent offseason workout set social media ablaze this week. The Carolina Panthers quarterback is from the area and was probably just helping the All-Pro running back with his road to recovery ahead of OTAs. But it did leave some questioning whether this would be the year that the former third-round pick gets a bigger role.

A lot needs to go right for Grier before he’s going to be considered as Carolina’s No. 1. It hasn’t been the easiest of starts to life in the league for the former West Virginia standout, who the Panthers moved up in the 2019 NFL Draft to acquire.

Firstly, it’s still unknown what direction Carolina goes from here after the San Francisco 49ers came up with a trade package that saw them surge up to No. 3 overall in the draft. This puts a dent in their plans to possibly select a franchise signal-caller of the future in pursuit of an upgrade on Teddy Bridgewater, who failed to come through when it mattered most in 2020.

Recent events regarding Deshaun Watson make things difficult to make a bombshell offer for the Houston Texans star at this juncture. So it might be a case of Carolina settling with what they have and waiting to see if the former Clemson star’s situation resolves in the future.

That probably isn’t going to go down well with large sections of the Panthers’ fanbase who have clearly seen enough of Bridgewater.

But winning at the Washington Football Team in a meaningless Week 16 game is having the expected ramifications.

Will Grier could take advantage of Teddy Bridgewater’s short lease.

Even if Bridgewater is the No. 1 heading into the crucial period of OTAs and training camp, he’ll be on a very short leash. This might lead to an opportunity for Grier if the Louisville product continues to regress from a confidence and performance perspective, with the jury still out on P.J. Walker’s ability to forge a successful career at the next level.

Grier’s career didn’t exactly get off to the best of openings. He was thrown to the wolves late in the 2019 campaign that resulted in two dismal performances under center and the introduction of Matt Rhule as head coach only heightened doubts about his long-term future.

If the Panthers wanted to see what Grier could do, they had the perfect chance towards the end of last season when Bridgewater was going through difficulty. Instead, Rhule’s previous association with Walker following their time together at Temple gave the quarterback preference as the primary backup.

This left Grier on the outside looking in. So whether this is a mindset he can alter is up for debate.

Granted his 53.8 percent compilation and four interceptions over two games wasn’t ideal as a rookie. But Grier was sacked on 10.8 percent of his plays and this is something that clearly played a significant role in his demise.

It might be now or never for Grier, who does have a cannon for an arm and is one of the hardest workers around. Should the Panthers miss out on every potential target this offseason and are left with the current options at their disposal, they’d have nothing to lose by throwing a once highly-touted draft pick into the mix if Bridgewater fails to bounce back.