The Carolina Panthers have swung and missed at every quarterback move they’ve made under Matt Rhule. The results haven’t been pretty, yet they get another chance in 2022.
If you’re the San Francisco 49ers, you hope that the Panthers are willing to go down swinging with your veteran quarterback who has established himself as a winner in the NFL.
The counter-argument to Carolina trading for Jimmy Garoppolo is that their previous attempts at bringing in an average quarterback to raise the ceiling of the offense hasn’t come close to working out.
So, will the Panthers roll with a rookie, or will they be enticed enough by Garoppolo’s services? To give you an idea of how inept Carolina’s search is going, they tried to have dinner with Ole Miss QB Matt Corral, but he was booked. Friday morning, Panthers’ general manager Scott Fitterer said that “we did meet with him on the side.” That is…not a great look when a rookie is unwilling to meet with you.
Fitterer said the team hadn’t had any recent conversations with teams about trading for a quarterback but added that the Panthers will explore every option and that teams have to reach out. So, paging John Lynch, this is your cue.
While it seems unlikely that Carolina would go down the veteran route once again, a weak quarterback draft class could force their hand. Fitterer told reporters he feels that the Panthers are “two steps closer” to winning the NFC South but wants to stabilize the quarterback position. Lynch could sell the Panthers as Jimmy being a stop-gap while their rookie quarterback develops.
Of course, finding a team to take on Sam Darnold’s contract would be the Panthers’ priority. They currently have $31 million in cap space. Cutting Darnold would mean the Panthers have to eat the majority of his $18 million base salary. If Carolina trades Darnold, they won’t have to pay him a penny.