3 Bold Predictions for the Panthers Offseason
It's been some time since the Carolina Panthers were seen as a credible threat in the NFL. They've finished with exactly five wins in each of the last three seasons and haven't made the playoffs since 2017.
Even though there were some bright spots in 2021, general manager Scott Fitterer has a lot of work to do this offseason. He'll have the sixth overall pick at the 2022 NFL Draft to help him, as well as over $15 million to work with in free agency, according to Spotrac.
Here's a look at three bold predictions for the Panthers' offseason.
Panthers Bold Predictions
1. Carolina's QB1 in 2022 is... Sam Darnold Again
Sam Darnold was Carolina's starting quarterback in 2021. While he began the season under center, he wound up splitting starts with P.J. Walker and Cam Newton as things progressed. However, Newton is now a free agent, while Darnold and Walker are still under contract for another season. Even though it's tempting to move on to another option, the Panthers could wind up sticking with Darnold for another season. For starters, they would face a $18.8 million penalty if they move on, and that's tough to stomach. Also, this year's free agency class lacks options who'd be a significant upgrade over him. At the end of the day, it makes sense for the Panthers to maybe draft a quarterback in April and let him develop under Darnold for a year or at least wait for the 2023 draft class before finding a replacement.
2. Panthers Trade McCaffrey
Christian McCaffrey is one of the most dynamic running backs in quite some time, racking up 6,602 yards from scrimmage and 47 touchdowns on 1,138 touches over 58 career games. Unfortunately, health has been an issue for McCaffrey after having played 10 total games since 2020. His injury woes led to rumors coming out in January about the Panthers potentially trading the 25-year-old RB this offseason. McCaffrey has about $64 million remaining on his contract with four years left on the deal, which is a lot of time and money committed to a player whose health is up in the air. McCaffrey may thrive more on a contending team, as a change in scenery may help with his career. If he suffers another injury in 2022, he'll lose a lot of trade value, which is why it'd be best for Carolina to move on from him now.
3. Panthers Trade Down From No. 6
Even though the Panthers only have six 2022 draft picks, they're fortunate enough that one of them is the No. 6 selection in the first round. Despite all the talent on the board, the top players available once Carolina is on the clock may not fit their needs — especially since there are so many of them. There really aren't any quarterback prospects worth taking that high, which is probably Carolina's top need. If the Panthers want to take a QB later and fill as many holes as possible along the way, trading down would help them amass more picks to do so. Even if it's only a handful of spots back, a trade of this nature could be the difference maker once the three-day event is over.
Sign up for FanDuel Sportsbook today and get your first bet risk free for up to $1,000!
Devon Platana is not a FanDuel employee. The views expressed in his articles are the author's alone and do not necessarily reflect the views of FanDuel.