Should the Carolina Panthers consider trading for J.K. Dobbins after a series of cryptic tweets from the Baltimore Ravens running back?
Carolina Panthers general manager Scott Fitterer has never shied away from his in-on-every-deal mentality from the moment he arrived from the Seattle Seahawks. The front office figure has been extremely aggressive after finally getting the final say on personnel decisions in the immediate aftermath of Matt Rhule's firing, which has brought more professionalism and collaboration to the team's recruitment process along the way.
The Panthers have made some significant splashes throughout one of the more memorable off-seasons in recent memory. Thanks to some outstanding salary-cap management led by Samir Suleiman, they also boast a large sum to spend if the right opportunities come along between now and when Week 1 at the Atlanta Falcons rolls around.
There are some intriguing free agents that could fill problem positions on the cheap. One couldn't dismiss the possibility of another trade if Fitterer feels like it's the best thing for the Panthers' chances in 2023.
Carolina Panthers linked with J.K. Dobbins trade after cryptic tweets
J.K. Dobbins saw his future with the Baltimore Ravens come under the microscope this week thanks to a series of cryptic tweets that many believed were related to his current situation with the organization. This quickly led Curtis Leung of Last Word on Sports to name the Panthers as one of the primary suitors despite signing Miles Sanders to a relatively big-money deal in free agency.
"Given the lack of high-end talent at running back, Carolina could trade for [J.K.] Dobbins. In Carolina, Dobbins would split snaps with Sanders, as he does in Baltimore with Gus Edwards. New Panthers head coach Frank Reich formerly coached the Indianapolis Colts, where he got a lot out of Jonathan Taylor. This could be important in the usage and development of Dobbins."- Curtis Leung, Last Word on Sports
Dobbins can play, there's no getting away from that. While the former second-round pick out of Ohio State dealt with some injury complications last season, he's a dual threat with proven production and enough speed to break off small gaps for big gains almost at will.
Things haven't been great between Dobbins and the Ravens for a while. This stems from the player's unhappiness at being sat on the sidelines during a critical moment in Baltimore's playoff loss against the Cincinnati Bengals when Tyler Huntley fumbled on a sneak that resulted in a touchdown the other way.
"He should’ve never been in that situation. I don’t get a single carry. I believe I would’ve put it in the end zone. I’m a guy that feels that if I’m on the field all the time, I can help this team win. I wasn’t. It’s the playoffs. Why am I not out there? I should be the guy. I’m tired of holding back."- J.K. Dobbins via Sports Illustrated
The benefits of acquiring someone like Dobbins are evident. However, the Panthers have enough in the backfield if Sanders builds on a career year and Chuba Hubbard also progresses after catching the eye from a rotational role last time around.
This makes adding to the room unlikely depending on what those in power think of Raheem Blackshear as a third option. If the Panthers were to risk future draft assets, one would think it would be for an edge rusher to put opposite Brian Burns or a cornerback to provide stability alongside Jaycee Horn.
Besides, the Ravens can ill afford to let Dobbins leave given his upside and the fact this is easily the best group of offensive weapons that quarterback Lamar Jackson's ever had. Something that has many tipping Baltimore to make a strong run at the AFC in 2023.