A franchise that has not reached the playoffs since 2017 has a lot of holes to fill. What could the Carolina Panthers do to aid their quarterback situation?
Over a stretch of five seasons from 2013-17 and under the guidance of head coach Ron Rivera, the Carolina Panthers made four playoff appearances. That included three division titles – winning the NFC South with a 7-8-1 record in 2014 – and a 15-1 campaign in 2015 which resulted in a trip to Super Bowl 50.
But the past four years have been nothing short of disastrous. The club has yet to finish with a winning season. And in the each of the past five years, the club has won exactly five games. It adds up to a dismal 22-43 combined record since 2018.
One of the issues has been quarterback play. Cam Newton got off to a great start in 2018 before suffering a shoulder injury that would require surgery in the offseason. Carolina opened that year 6-2 before dropping seven of its final eight contests.
Along with Newton, the Panthers have utilized Taylor Heinicke, Kyle Allen, Will Grier, Teddy Bridgewater, P.J. Walker and Sam Darnold as starting quarterbacks the past four seasons.
… It wouldn’t stun me, or others in the league, if the Panthers grit their teeth and go with the offensive lineman over the quarterback—with perhaps the idea that they could go and get Jimmy Garoppolo after the first round, or even Baker Mayfield, who’s been seen internally as a sort of redundant gamble to what the team did with Sam Darnold last year (and would probably require the Browns’ eating a whole bunch of his $18.858 million base).
This shapes up as a very important year for current head coach Matt Rhule, who has produced a combined 10-23 record in his two seasons at the controls. Regardless of who was at the controls this past season (Darnold and Walker remain on the roster), the Panthers – who won their first three games in 2021 – failed to generate a lot of offense.