The Panthers came away from last week’s scouting combine “very impressed” by Liberty quarterback Malik Willis, per Cameron Wolfe of the NFL Network (video link). Carolina presently holds the No. 6 overall pick in the 2022 draft, and if the club decides that any member of this year’s much-maligned crop of collegiate signal-callers is worthy of that selection, Willis would seem to be the choice.
Indeed, Albert Breer of SI.com believes that Willis’ combine performance, both on the field and in his interviews, has positioned him as the current favorite to be the first QB off the board. Much will depend on his March 22 pro day, but his athleticism, arm strength, and personality give teams hope that, once he learns the complexities of the professional game, he can become a top-flight starter.
Wolfe’s report surfaced several days before a grand jury decided against indicting Texans QB Deshaun Watson. Even before that development, the Panthers were keen on acquiring Watson, and now that the three-time Pro Bowl has avoided criminal charges, Carolina is stepping up its pursuit.
As expected, however, a number of other clubs are also willing to get in the mix in the wake of the grand jury’s decision, so the Panthers could be facing some stiff competition as they try to bring a decisive end to their search for a long-term answer at quarterback. Houston is courting as many as 10 suitors for Watson, so the trade package required to land him will be significant, and that’s to say nothing of the voice that Watson has in the process thanks to his no-trade clause (though the most recent reports suggest that Watson would now accept a deal to Carolina).
Should the Panthers miss out on Watson, they could decide that Willis is the next best option, either with the No. 6 pick or in a trade-down scenario. Willis could then serve as Sam Darnold‘s backup for a season before taking the reins in 2023, when Darnold’s contract expires.
Although there are other QBs available on the trade market — Jimmy Garoppolo and (perhaps) Kirk Cousins, for instance — Carolina does not appear interested. In fact, Wolfe’s source laughed off a report that the Panthers had called the Vikings to inquire on Cousins’ availability, saying that the team does not view Cousins as a significant upgrade over Darnold or current QB2 P.J. Walker.
15 comments on “Panthers “Very Impressed” By Malik Willis, Not Interested In Kirk Cousins”
“…the team does not view Cousins as a significant upgrade over Darnold or current QB2 P.J. Walker.”
The real reason being they don’t view Cousins as being worth the cap charge. Talent-wise, however, the above is a complete lie
I think, honestly, that Carolina is just enamored with mobile quarterbacks. Cousins seems too safe an option for them playstyle-wise to me. Risk it for biscuit or some such thing I suppose.
As a Vikings fan, I’m all for trading cousins. He’s however a huge upgrade over what they have. It’s not even that close.
Talent wise yes.
But at the cost of
clearing/creating cap room
getting 1 year of a 34-35 year old qb?
Wouldn’t be the smartest move for a team that’s not anywhere close to sb contention.
.500 career record and 1 playoff win…for 45 million a year? I’d rather roll with darnold and tank for a good qb in 23 than go with the massively overpaid cousins.
Record and playoff wins are a team accomplishment, not an individual player’s accomplishment. Stop using it as an argument.
Yet used all the time for Rodgers (who cares about all the mvps but chokes in the playoffs)…..funny how that works…..so no, I’ll keep using it. Cousins can’t perform when it really matters.
The guy’s pay is $35 million, not $45 million. Don’t confuse salary and cap. One transfers at trade, the other doesn’t.
If this guy doesn’t think Cousins is an upgrade over Darnold, he probably shouldn’t have a job in football. He whiffed big on Darnold last year
Just subterfuge to lower Houston’s asking price on Watson…
There’s interest in Cousins?
A lot of posters over the last year are really going to miss their predictions. Texans laughing all the way to the draft. Mills may work out as Qb1, at least two 1st round picks over the next three drafts (or some combination of 6 1st round picks including their own) and likely 4 or 5 2nd round picks as well. Draft well and hope Mills works out, along with saving 50 million annually in cap space between Watson and Tunsil, the Texans will be back in the playoffs.
You can keep using it… but it makes you look as dumb as the people saying Rodgers chokes in the playoffs. Cousins puts up top 10 stats with a bottom 10 line and has no defense. through the first 13 games the team was 6-7 while Cousins had a 25-3 td/int ratio. that ratio was better then every qb but Rodgers… but the team sucked bcuz of Cousins? He was also put in the most 3rd long situations in the league bcuz of horrible play calling and line play, but he performed better in those situations then all but a few qbs… but those are just meaningless stats. you want him to win like other elite qbs? give him the same top 10 pass protection and defense that those teams have.
Whomever they get will be playing for a new coach next year anyway. Rhule wanted to jump ship this off season. Another crappy year and he will be gone. It’s not always the QB fault. Sometimes Your just not a good head coach
Panthers: trade for Gardner Minshew