How long will Carolina Panthers' emergence from rock bottom take?

The only way is up...

Dan Morgan and Dave Canales
Dan Morgan and Dave Canales / Jim Dedmon-USA TODAY Sports
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How long will it take the Carolina Panthers to rid themselves of rock-bottom status under Dan Morgan and Dave Canales?

Nobody is painting the Carolina Panthers in a particularly pleasing light right now. They are coming off one of the worst seasons in franchise history. They are giving up the No. 1 overall selection in the 2024 NFL Draft after betting the house on quarterback Bryce Young. David Tepper's petulance and erratic ownership brought further chaos to a once-proud organization.

The Panthers are at rock bottom. There is no getting away from that whatsoever. Their new power trio of Dave Canales, Dan Morgan, and Brandt Tilis have a significant amount of work ahead to alter perceptions. Anyone who thinks this is going to magically happen overnight is heading for a fall.

Carolina Panthers face a long road back to prominence

This is something further reflected in ESPN's way-too-early 2024 power rankings heading into the offseason. Unsurprisingly, the Panthers landed at No. 32. Beat writer David Newton placed any hopes for progress squarely on Canales' ability to mold Young into a productive quarterback in the coming years.

"The Panthers made Dave Canales their third non-interim head coach in less than three years and fourth since 2019. They did it to help turn around quarterback Bryce Young, whom Canales called an "amazing talent.'' Canales hopes to do what he did for Baker Mayfield this past season and Geno Smith in 2022. Both had career seasons. Young needs support after ranking next to last in Total QBR during his rookie season."

David Newton, ESPN

Young holds the primary key to Carolina's growth. The Panthers need to spend substantial resources on surrounding the former Alabama star with everything he needs to thrive. Anything less considering their investment in the player would be complete incompetence.

Dave Canales has a plan in place to turn the Carolina Panthers into a contender.
Dave Canales / Jim Dedmon-USA TODAY Sports

Filling so many holes with instant fixes seems like an impossible task with the assets at Carolina's disposal this offseason. There's also the small matter of looming defensive contract extensions for the likes of Frankie Luvu, Brian Burns, Derrick Brown, and potentially Jaycee Horn to factor into the equation.

Canales signed a six-year deal to become head coach. This should be a glaring indication of the rebuild ahead. Restoring a sense of pride and respectability is the first goal. After that, people around the NFL will start looking at the Panthers differently.

Fans have been kicked around for too long. They want a team they can be proud of. They want to feel part of something special. This period of struggle coming soon after the 2015 Super Bowl run alienated a section of supporters who felt they could become a perennial powerhouse.

Expecting the Panthers to become a playoff contender in Year 1 under Canales is unrealistic, to put it mildly. One couldn't dismiss the prospect entirely looking at the NFC South's landscape, but tempering expectations would be the sensible course of action until further notice.

Emerging from rock bottom is the target next season. This team has been the league's laughingstock for too long. Canales sees it too given how active the head coach is on social media. He'll strive with everything he has to change this ongoing narrative.

Just give everyone associated with the franchise a sense of belonging. Of hope. That's been sorely missed above all else.

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