4 former Carolina Panthers players that could return in 2023

(Rich Barnes-USA TODAY Sports) Taylor Heinicke
(Rich Barnes-USA TODAY Sports) Taylor Heinicke /
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Carolina Panthers
(Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports) Taylor Heinicke /

Carolina Panthers could target Taylor Heinicke

While all signs point to the Carolina Panthers making a bold bid up the draft board for their franchise quarterback, those in power could also bring in another veteran option. This would provide stability and a potential bridge option until a college recruit is ready to take charge.

There is also the presence of Matt Corral to consider. But the Ole Miss product needs to impress a new set of eyes that have no emotional attachment to him whatsoever.

The possibility of Sam Darnold getting a short-term extension cannot be dismissed now that Josh McCown is the quarterbacks’ coach, but looking further afield is something else to contemplate. And with Taylor Heinicke set to hit the market, it’s an intriguing option if nothing else.

Heinicke emerged from the 2022 campaign with real credit after getting the Washington Commanders back on track. He was unfortunate to lose his starting job and if Ron Rivera takes his chances elsewhere, there should be another job opportunity in the offing.

The signal-caller’s production has improved every year he’s been in the league. Heinicke is an emerging leader that commanded respect within Washington’s locker room, which would smooth the transition of a rookie into the Panthers.

At the very worst, Heinicke would be a decent backup. He’s a hard worker that takes absolutely nothing for granted, so there are far worse avenues Carolina could go down in this scenario.