Having recently hired former Texans and Lions quarterbacks coach Sean Ryan to the same position, the Panthers have an interesting connection to both of this year’s hot-commodity trade pieces. And the team appears to be considering both passers.
In addition to their Deshaun Watson pursuit, the Panthers are in on the Matthew Stafford sweepstakes, Joe Person of The Athletic tweets. They join the Rams and many others, with a previous report indicating as many as 12 teams have discussed Stafford with the new Lions regime, in this group.
Stafford, who will turn 33 next month, would bring appeal due to his lower trade price. But some Panthers staffers believe the former No. 1 overall pick is in decline, Person adds (subscription required). Such stances would make a pursuit interesting, especially given the makeup of Carolina’s roster. While the Lions are expecting a first-round pick in return for Stafford, the Panthers hold the No. 7 overall selection. That would be quite a price to pay for a rebuilding team.
The Panthers would seem to match up better with Watson, who is 25 and signed through the 2025 season. But Stafford would be a clear upgrade over Teddy Bridgewater as well. Two years and $43MM remain on Stafford’s contract, though he could well seek an extension from the team that acquires him.
Ryan coached Stafford over the past two years but was in Houston for Watson’s first two seasons, throwing an interesting variable into the mix. Ryan was on the radar for the Panthers’ OC job last year, but Matt Rhule ended up hiring Joe Brady.