4 QBs the Carolina Panthers could target to boost backup options in 2022

(David Butler II-USA TODAY Sports) Sam Darnold
(David Butler II-USA TODAY Sports) Sam Darnold /
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Carolina Panthers
(Jay Biggerstaff-USA TODAY Sports) Taylor Heinicke /

Carolina Panthers could trade for or sign Taylor Heinicke

Sam Howell – who the Carolina Panthers were considering even after they’d traded up for Matt Corral in the 2021 NFL Draft – has been nothing short of phenomenal for the Washington Commanders throughout the preseason. Something that could win him the No. 2 job behind Carson Wentz when it’s all said and done.

The Commanders now have a big decision to make regarding Taylor Heinicke, who is in the final year of his contract. Ron Rivera likes the signal-caller and worked with him previously in Carolina, but Howell’s outstanding transition means he could be relegated to the No. 3 role in the not-too-distant future.

Releasing Heinicke would represent a saving of $3.1 million for Washington. But it might be worth making some calls around the league to see what they could get in return for someone with starting experience.

Heinicke is no stranger to the Panthers – albeit under a different regime – and he’s capable of providing a spark when called upon at a moment’s notice. However, general manager Scott Fitterer might decide to play the waiting game in this scenario given that Washington has just $9.15 million in available cap space.

This would cost nothing more than a conditional Day 3 pick. Heinicke might also be a hot commodity on the waiver wire if the Commanders did cut their losses and move forward with Howell as Wentz’s primary understudy.