4 burning questions Carolina Panthers fans are asking ahead of Week 16

(Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports) David Tepper
(Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports) David Tepper /
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Carolina Panthers
(Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports) Sam Darnold /

Should the Carolina Panthers stick with Sam Darnold in 2023?

If Sam Darnold is playing this well and keeps it up throughout the end of the year, are you pressed in drafting a QB with that first pick, or do you add another DL/LB/WR or RB and try to stack the deck with a new OC/QB friendly offense? – Kyle

This is a good question, Kyle. Certainly, a conversation to look forward to ahead of what’s sure to be another dramatic offseason.

I think this is a pivotal off-season for the Carolina Panthers. They didn’t exactly tear the roster down at the trade deadline and are looking to lean on their core pieces on both sides of the ball.

This team will surely have holes up and down the board. General manager Scott Fitterer should also clear up some cap space to acquire impactful free agents for the 2023 season.

While I have been adamant about the franchise finally selecting a future franchise quarterback in the NFL Draft, going a different direction should at least be explored as a possibility.

Sam Darnold has done a solid job playing clean and turnover-free football. He’s currently in the longest turnover-less stretch since his time with the New York Jets and there is a lot of hope the signal-caller can continue to stay this way.

If he were to do so, there is a chance the Panthers could stick with the former No. 3 overall pick for another season while building the roster around the quarterback position.

Texas Tech edge rusher Tyree Wilson, Ohio State linebacker Tommy Eichenberg, Tennessee wide receiver Jalin Hyatt, and Alabama running back Jahymr Gibbs are potential targets in the first couple of rounds in the NFL Draft should the Panthers go in a different direction.

It’s a fun scenario to explore. However, I believe the expectation going into the offseason is to target a quarterback in the first round of the draft.

Whether that is in the top 10 or via trade-up following a surprise playoff appearance remains to be seen.