The QB market just got a little bit more complicated for the Panthers. The San Francisco 49ers sent #12, 2021 3rd, 2022 1st, and 2023 1st to move up to 3 with the Miami Dolphins. This was a coveted spot to trade up for many QB-needy teams, including teams like Carolina, Denver, and possibly the Eagles. The trade cements Tua Tagovailoa as the Dolphin's starter next season, with Miami loading up on draft picks for the next few seasons. What does this mean for the Panthers?
Deshaun Watson is more attainable
While many lawsuits are being filed against star quarterback Deshaun Watson, reports are that the Panthers have not lost interest in the former Clemson QB. With the 49ers likely to select a quarterback at 3, that's one more team out of the running. As more teams are taken out of the picture, it's likely the Panthers could get a better deal for him. Fitterer has to evaluate whether or not it's worth it to mortgage the future with Watson or stick it out with Teddy next year.
Increased chance that a QB will not slide to 8
The Panthers were never in a great position for a top 4 quarterback to slide into their laps. Before the trade, there was still a possibility that all 4 quarterbacks could be gone before they pick. It's very likely that QBs will go 1, 2, 3 because of the need of top-tier talent for the position. That would leave the Falcons, Bengals, Eagles, and Lions in front of the Panthers. Even with the restructuring of Matt Ryan's deal, the Falcons could decide to grab a young signal-caller to groom with the next regime. Although the Bengals have no reason to, the Eagles have uncertainty at the game's most important position after drafting Jalen Hurts last year. Jared Goff's massive contract points to them not taking one, but it's not out of the question. The Panthers have to make a decision, a big one at that.
Panthers need to trade up to 4 with Atlanta
I know they're division rivals but the Panthers need to make a move. The front office has already bad-mouthed Teddy enough that he probably wouldn't feel good at the helm for them anymore. If all Carolina has to do is throw an extra mid-round pick, I would be fine with that. Until you have your guy, you can't go that far consistently in the NFL. We need a stud QB and I'd guess that Lance would be the likeliest available at 4 when draft day comes around. I'm perfectly comfortable with him.
Explore other options in the Draft
I know Mac Jones will be there at 8 but I don't believe he's a franchise quarterback and definitely not worthy of a 1st round pick in my opinion. Plus, there are more intriguing options later on such as Jamie Newman out of Wake Forest.
The Panthers were able to work with Newman at the Senior Bowl, in which he was quite rusty. After all, he hadn't played a meaningful game since 2019 after opting out of 2020 as a part of the Georgia Bulldogs. The organization even met with him privately at the Senior Bowl, so it could be that the Panthers are keeping a close eye on him if they can't select a top-tier talent in the draft.
This would remind me of the Russell Wilson situation in Seattle where they kept their interest on the down-low. Fitterer could have another trick up his sleeve going into his first draft. I personally would be ok with this, as long as he works out of course. I don't want another Will Grier situation. Newman could be available in the 4th due to his bad performance in the Bowl game and the Panthers could look like geniuses.
Will Tepper take the risk? Trade for Deshaun, trade up, or pick a QB later? It's up to him and the front office essentially. What do you think? Leave your comments in the spot below.