Could the Carolina Panthers make a desperate bid for Drew Brees?

(Chuck Cook-USA TODAY Sports) Drew Brees
(Chuck Cook-USA TODAY Sports) Drew Brees /

Could the Carolina Panthers make a desperate move for Drew Brees after speculation began about the quarterback potentially coming out of retirement in 2022?

One cryptic tweet is all it took to set the rumor mill flying about a potential NFL return for Drew Brees.

Almost as soon as it had been confirmed that the quarterback-turned-announcer was leaving his position at NBC Sports after just one season as their NFL analyst, talk of the aging signal-caller making a dramatic return to the gridiron surfaced. As has been the case with most players at the position this offseason, the Carolina Panthers’ name cropped up.

The Panthers are clearly still exploring all possibilities despite having Sam Darnold and drafting Matt Corral at No 94 overall in the 2022 NFL Draft. General manager Scott Fitterer stated the competition is open and Carolina has yet to firmly close the door on another trade if they feel it can bring short-term rewards.

Fitterer also told Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk that lines of communication are still open with Cam Newton. But it appears as if it has to be the right deal and role for all parties involved given the esteem in which the former NFL MVP is held across the fanbase.

Carolina Panthers could be ‘desperate enough’ to sign Drew Brees

Peter King’s weekly Football Morning in America column on NBC Sports suggested that the Panthers might be desperate enough to make a move for Brees if he decided to give it one more go. But just how beneficial that would be given his age and a clear regression before calling it a day is another matter.

"“As for other teams, the Seahawks might fit despite their talking-up of Drew Lock, and the Panthers could be just desperate enough to make a run at Brees. But we’re getting way ahead of ourselves. Would any team want a 43-year-old Brees, who’d have to rehab after left shoulder surgery? And was Brees just throwing out a misdirection play with his tweets?”"

This is the second time Carolina has been somewhat linked to a former New Orleans Saints player or staff member over the last few days. Matt Rhule was forced to answer questions about a report that suggested Sean Payton is on the Panthers’wish list in 2023 – something that team owner David Tepper denied.

Considering how much Brees means to New Orleans and vice-versa, this is an absolute non-starter. It’s unlikely he would want to jeopardize this relationship and tarnishing his legacy for one more season under center seems like a big risk for very little reward.

Carolina’s name coming into the conversation is almost inevitable. And it’s likely to remain this way until a long-term solution is found.

Hopes are high that Corral can become the man with additional refinement. The Panthers also have the option of taking another quarterback from a much deeper class in 2023 if things aren’t progressing as expected.

Making a move for Brees – as King stated – would be nothing short of desperation. Something that’s been part of their recruitment problem at the most important position on the field since Rhule took over.

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This wouldn’t even be a band-aid fix. And in all honesty, even attempting to sign Brees if he does unretire is far more trouble than it’s worth.