One day after his noteworthy mid-game exit, many expected Panthers wideout Robbie Anderson to be suiting up for a new team in the very near future. To little surprise, Carolina has indeed moved on, trading him to the Cardinals (Twitter link via NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport). ESPN’s Adam Schefter tweets that the Panthers will receive a 2024 sixth-round pick, along with a seventh-rounder in 2025.
Anderson was sent to the locker room by interim head coach Steve Wilks after multiple heated exchanges on the sidelines. The incident was precipitated by Anderson being taken off the field prior to a third-down play, something which led to him saying after the game that he was “confused” by the move. While he publicly stated that he would be willing to remain in Carolina, it was widely expected that Sunday’s loss to the Rams would mark his final game with the Panthers.
The former UDFA spent four years with the Jets to begin his career. His prowess as a deep threat (averaging 14.8 yards per catch), along with his chemistry with Sam Darnold, led to heightened expectations upon his arrival in Carolina. Reunited with Matt Rhule, his coach at Temple, Anderson posted career-highs in receptions (95) and yards (1,046) in 2020.
The 29-year-old has not been able to match those totals since, however. Last season, Anderson’s receiving totals fell to 519 yards; in 2022, he has posted 206 on 13 catches. Especially after Rhule was fired last week, then, Anderson began to be shopped by the Panthers and was considered a likely trade candidate. As Rapoport’s colleague Tom Pelisero tweets, the Cardinals will be responsible for the remaining $690K in Anderson’s 2022 salary, though he is also under contract for next year at a cap hit of $21.7MM.
From Arizona’s perspective, this move provides depth to a WR room which is in flux. All-Pro DeAndre Hopkins is set to return from his PED suspension, which is expected to provide a significant boost to the team’s offense. However, top deep threat Marquise Brown was seen in a walking boot after yesterday’s loss to the Seahawks, leaving his availability in the short-term future in question. Schefter notes that further testing will be required later today to determine the extent of the offseason trade acquisition’s absence (Twitter link).
With a notable role seemingly available for him right away, Anderson can begin his Arizona tenure as early as this Thursday against the Saints. Given the Cardinals’ struggles finding consistency on offense, he could play a part in stabilizing the team’s passing game while looking to rebuild his value.