Robbie Anderson

Panthers QB Notes: Darnold, Mayfield, Rhule, Herbert, Stafford, Tepper, Watson

Although the Panthers are starting Baker Mayfield in Week 11, they want to see Sam Darnold in action this season. Steve Wilks said he would like to give Darnold some work, though the interim HC did not indicate that would be certain to happen this week against the Ravens. “I’m interested in winning the game. This is not pay $250 to get to play,” Wilks said, via The Athletic’s Joe Person (on Twitter).

Carolina used one of its injury activations to move Darnold onto its 53-man roster last week, but the former No. 3 overall pick did not see any action against the Falcons. P.J. Walker is out of the picture for the time being, after becoming the third Carolina QB this season to suffer a high ankle sprain. Mayfield will make his first start since sustaining his ankle injury in Week 9. Here is the latest from what has become one of the more complex QB situations in recent NFL history:

  • After playing hurt last season, Mayfield has not turned it around. On the radar for a potential franchise-QB deal in 2021, Mayfield is on track for free agency for the first time. The market for the former No. 1 overall pick may check in at $5-$7MM on a prove-it deal, David Newton of ESPN.com notes. Mayfield’s 17.7 QBR ranks last in the NFL.
  • This situation has been in flux since Cam Newton‘s 2019 foot injury. Prior to the team making the Newton-for-Teddy Bridgewater change, GM Marty Hurney and most of the Panthers’ scouts were high on Justin Herbert. But Matt Rhule did not view 2020 as the window to draft a quarterback, with Jeremy Fowler of ESPN.com indicating in an expansive piece the team saw a jump from No. 7 overall to No. 4 — ahead of the QB-seeking Dolphins and Chargers — as too costly. While then-Giants GM Dave Gettleman was not keen on trading down, going most of his GM career without ever doing so, the Panthers not making a push for Herbert has led to QB chaos.
  • After the Panthers determined Bridgewater — a preference of former OC Joe Brady — would be a one-and-done in Charlotte, they made a big offer for Matthew Stafford. Negotiations between new Panthers GM Scott Fitterer and Lions rookie GM Brad Holmes at the 2021 Senior Bowl led to Panthers brass leaving Mobile believing they were set to acquire Stafford, Fowler notes. It is interesting to learn how far the GMs progressed in talks, because Stafford made it known soon after he did not want to play for the Panthers. The Rams then came in late with their two-first-rounder offer, forcing the Panthers and others to look elsewhere.
  • Rhule then pushed hard for Darnold, Fowler adds, after Panthers staffers went through film sessions evaluating he, Carson Wentz and Drew Lock. The Panthers sent the Jets second-, fourth- and sixth-round picks for the former No. 3 overall pick and picked up his guaranteed $18.9MM fifth-year option. Owner David Tepper begrudgingly picked up the option but became irked by the 2023 cost hanging over the franchise, per Fowler. Tepper is believed to have held up this year’s Mayfield trade talks in order to move the Browns to pick up more money on his option salary. The delay was connected to the Panthers already having Darnold’s fifth-year option to pay.
  • Tepper’s main prize during this multiyear QB odyssey, Deshaun Watson, was leery of the Panthers’ staff uncertainty, Fowler adds. All things being equal between the four finalists — Atlanta, Carolina, Cleveland, New Orleans — the Panthers were not believed to be Watson’s first choice. The Falcons were viewed as the team that would have landed Watson if the Browns did not make that unprecedented $230MM guarantee offer.
  • Fitterer offered support for a Mitch Trubisky signing this offseason, according to Fowler, who adds the team never engaged in extended talks with Jimmy Garoppolo‘s camp. While Garoppolo said the Panthers were in the mix, the team was believed to be leery of his injury history. Trubisky is in Year 1 of a two-year, $14.3MM deal. While Trubisky may well be available again in 2023, the Panthers — having added six draft picks from the Christian McCaffrey and Robbie Anderson trades — will be connected to this year’s crop of QB prospects.

Trade Notes: Gesicki, Hawks, Commanders

Dolphins tight end Mike Gesicki recently emerged as a potential trade candidate. The tight end doesn’t seem overly focused on the latest rumblings, telling reporters that he hasn’t asked the front office for clarity about the report.

“No,” Gesicki responded when asked if he’s reached out to the Dolphins (h/t Joe Schad of The Palm Beach Post). “I mean, I think I just kind of like I said, I just kind of go about my business. Whatever happens, happens. And I’ve been here for five years now. I love it here. I’m happy to be here. And if I stay here, which I mean, I would assume, I would. I’m excited to continue to be here, make plays and you know, help the team win and move forward and all that kind of stuff for the rest of season.”

Gesicki is coming off his best game of the season, with the tight end hauling in six catches for 69 yards and a pair of touchdowns against the Vikings. However, the 27-year-old has been limited to only 101 yards in his other five appearances, with receivers Tyreek Hill and Jaylen Waddle commanding the bulk of the targets. Despite his inconsistent offensive role, Gesicki made it clear that he hasn’t asked for a trade.

“Nah,” Gesicki said when asked if he’s requested a trade.” I mean, I think these coaches also understand what I’m capable of. And I think, you know, Sunday was a good, you know, showing of that just, you know, a couple of opportunities to go out there and make plays. And that was my thing. I don’t know when the opportunity is gonna come, but I gotta keep preparing as if they’re gonna come.”

More trade notes from around the NFL…

  • The Seahawks have made cornerback Sidney Jones available, according to ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler. While the organization would prefer to keep the veteran, they’re willing to listen to offers with Jones buried on the depth chart. Michael Jackson and Tariq Woolen are holding down the fort as the outside cornerbacks, and Tre Brown will eventually work his way back into the lineup. Jones is playing on a one-year deal following a career season in 2021. In 16 games (11 starts) for Seattle, the cornerback compiled 66 tackles and 10 passes defended.
  • Speaking of Seattle, Bob Condotta of the Seattle Times can’t envision the Seahawks making a significant move at the trade deadline. While Seattle has made deadline moves in the past, the team currently seems focused on building their core from within. The team also has little cap space to work with, making a big splash unlikely.
  • Following his benching in Week 5, it was reported that Commanders cornerback William Jackson could be looking for a fresh start elsewhere. However, the defensive back denied reports that he wants to be traded (per ESPN’s John Keim on Twitter). Jackson was ruled out for Week 6 with a back injury, and it sounds like he’s unlikely to play in Week 7. Jackson is attached to a three-year, $40.5MM deal, but teams have expressed interest ahead of the Nov. 1 deadline.
  • The Panthers were planning to cut Robbie Anderson before they found a taker in the Cardinals, reports ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler (on Twitter). Considering the prospect of just eating his salary, the Panthers made out well in the deal, securing a 2024 sixth-round pick and a 2025 seventh-round pick from Arizona.

Cardinals Place WR Marquise Brown On IR, Activate G Cody Ford

Hopes for a DeAndre HopkinsRobbie AndersonMarquise Brown trio will be on hold for a while. The Cardinals moved Brown to IR on Thursday, sidelining the diminutive playmaker for at least four weeks.

Brown received a second opinion on his foot injury Wednesday, and Dr. Robert Anderson confirmed a four- to six-week recovery timetable. Brown will be shut down until close to December. His injury led to the Cardinals making the trade for Anderson, whose Panthers stock cratered after his Week 6 banishment.

The Cardinals are also not wasting much time with Cody Ford. Just two days after the recent trade acquisition returned to practice, the Cards activated him from IR. This marks Arizona’s third injury activation this season. Ford will take the roster spot of Justin Pugh. An ACL tear sent the veteran guard to IR.

Arizona is also promoting Rodrigo Blankenship to its gameday 55-man roster, along with running back Corey Clement. Signed on Tuesday, Blankenship is in position to work as Arizona’s latest Matt Prater fill-in option. Prater has missed the past two games due to a hip injury. Matt Ammendola kicked in his place during that span, but the Cards are making a change here. Arizona has yet to rule out Prater, but the veteran kicker did not practice this week.

Hopkins will make his 2022 debut tonight, after serving a six-game PED suspension. The Cardinals traded for Brown during the draft, but news of Hopkins’ ban broke shortly after. Brown is under contract through 2023, like Anderson, but the former’s status is more assured beyond 2022. Tonight, however, it will be Anderson teaming with Hopkins. That said, ESPN.com’s Ed Werder notes the recently acquired receiver will only have a package of plays (Twitter link). A 10-15% snap share is expected for the former Jets and Panthers wideout.

Pugh’s injury opens the door for Ford, who joins Brown and Kyler Murray as Oklahoma alums chosen in the 2019 draft. Unlike the better-known ex-Sooners, Ford is in a contract year. The Bills shipped the underwhelming guard to the Cardinals for a fifth-round pick.

A 2019 second-rounder, Ford has made 29 career starts. It is not a lock he adds to that total soon, with the Cards having veteran eighth-year vet Max Garcia in the fold opposite Will Hernandez. But Ford provides decent depth for a team that suddenly needs it up front. Ford, who suffered an ankle injury not long after the Cardinals traded for him, joins Billy Price as notable Cardinals O-line depth pieces.

Cardinals WR Marquise Brown Facing Multi-Week Absence

Wed, 9:45pm: After receiving a second opinion from renowned foot specialist Dr. Robert Anderson, the timeline for Brown’s return has been confirmed, according to Josina Anderson of CBS Sports. The specialist reiterated a recovery window of four to six weeks.

Mon, 4:00pm: In an encouraging update, Ian Rapoport of NFL Network tweets that Brown sustained a fracture that will not require surgery. That reduces his recovery timeline to roughly six weeks, which could be be considered a relative best-case scenario. The wideout will get a second opinion on the matter.

Mon, 1:41pm: The Cardinals are set to have their No. 1 receiver return this Thursday, but it appears they will be without another high-profile member of the wideout room for, at best, an extended period. Adam Schefter of ESPN reports that Marquise Brown — who suffered a foot injury Sunday — could be sidelined for the remainder of the season (Twitter link).

[RELATED: Cardinals Acquire WR Robbie Anderson]

Brown, 25, was seen in a walking boot after yesterday’s loss to the Seahawks. Schefter adds that further testing is still to be done to confirm a diagnosis, but a lengthy absence would mark a significant blow for both him and the Cardinals. The former first-rounder is in the final year of his rookie contract, and will earn $13.4MM next year on the fifth-year option should a long-term deal not come to fruition.

The Oklahoma product had an up-and-down tenure with the Ravens to start his career. Quickly establishing himself as an effective deep threat, ‘Hollywood’ averaged 12 yards per catch over the course of his three seasons in Baltimore. That time included his only 1,000-yard campaign to date, when he posted a 91/1008/6 statline in 2021.

The Ravens dealt him to Arizona during the first night of this year’s draft, however. It was reported not long after that Brown had requested the move, which landed Baltimore a first-round pick and allowed him to join a much more pass-happy offense. The swap also reunited him with former college teammate Kyler Murray, leading to expectations that the pair would put up significant production early in the season in particular.

Through six weeks, Brown has amassed 43 catches, 485 yards and three touchdowns. He averaged over 10 targets per game over that span, in large part due to the absence of DeAndre Hopkins. The latter is eligible to return from his PED suspension starting in Week 7, though, something which is expected to help a Cardinals unit ranked 19th in the NFL in passing yards per game (246).

A step forward will be harder to come by without Brown, however. Arizona has already lost Antoine Wesley for the remainder of the season due to a quadriceps tear. The team also waived former second-rounder Andy Isabella, leaving them short on speed options aside from the newly acquired Robbie Anderson.

Panthers Seeking First-Rounder Or Two-Pick Haul For Christian McCaffrey?

Christian McCaffrey‘s name continues to come up in trade rumors, and the Panthers might be moving off their spring ask of a first-round pick and change.

While Carolina is shooting for a first-rounder for the former All-Pro running back, the team is also entertaining offers headlined by a Day 2 pick, Jonathan Jones of CBS Sports reports. The latter package would need to include a Day 2 choice and another pick, per Jones, who adds the Panthers do not view McCaffrey as an automatic 2023 cap casualty. But the prospect of the dual-threat dynamo being moved out of Charlotte continues to gain steam.

The Panthers rebuffed multiple teams on McCaffrey recently, but they are listening on offers — whereas the likes of Brian Burns, D.J. Moore and Derrick Brown appear nonstarters in trade talks. In the spring, the Panthers were connected to wanting a first-round pick and a cost-controlled player. Has teams’ reluctance to approach that compensation level led to a revised asking price?

No running back has been traded for a first-round pick since the Browns sent Trent Richardson to the Colts during the 2013 season. Excepting the unusual DeAndre HopkinsDavid Johnson trade, no running back has been dealt for more than a third (Duke Johnson, 2019) since the Richardson swap. McCaffrey is a unique trade chip, but his position still suppresses his value to a degree. Though, CMC’s passing-game value adds more intrigue to prospective trade talks.

A few teams have been linked to McCaffrey early. The Bills, Rams, 49ers and Broncos surfaced as interested parties, though Denver’s recent swoon makes the team being buyers — especially with Javonte Williams under contract through 2024 — harder to envision. 49ers starter Elijah Mitchell is expected to return around midseason, but the productive sixth-round pick has proven injury-prone early in his career. The Bills have shown an affinity for ex-Panthers, given Sean McDermott and Brandon Beane‘s ties to Carolina. While active players from Beane and McDermott’s Charlotte stay are somewhat sparse six years later, Beane was with the Panthers when they drafted McCaffrey eighth overall in 2017.

The Rams are going through some unexpected backfield turnover. They are now likely to trade Cam Akers, with a disagreement set to call for a mid-rookie-contract divorce. Akers talks also affect Carolina’s McCaffrey discussions, since there is another back (a lower-tier player, but a starter-caliber cog) on the block. Darrell Henderson is also in a contract year, opening the door for an addition signed beyond 2022. The Rams have not been shy about splashy trades, and they did part with two picks (fourth- and sixth-rounders) for Sony Michel last year. It will take more to land CMC, but how much more?

McCaffrey, 26, would make for an expensive add. He is tied to base salaries of $11.8MM in 2023 and ’24 and a $12MM 2025 price. Those sums are nonguaranteed, so it would be interesting to see how the Panthers play this. They are believed to be open to taking on some salary in a trade, injecting more interest here, as that would increase the compensation price.

Carolina has been more resistant to move other pieces, but McCaffrey — who has not missed any games this season, after being sidelined for 23 from 2020-21 — has generated interest. The team began to dangle Robbie Anderson in trades over the weekend, and although his sideline dustup with Panthers coaches marked the end of his three-season run, but Jeremy Fowler of ESPN.com tweets the veteran receiver was available for around a year. McCaffrey trade buzz started when the team pursued Deshaun Watson ahead of last year’s deadline, and the team revisited the talks in March. The latest set of CMC trade rumors have persisted for a longer period, leading to the assumption these in-season sweepstakes are real.

Cardinals To Acquire WR Robbie Anderson From Panthers

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.

Robbie Anderson On In-Game Dismissal, Panthers Future

The main Panthers talking point after yesterday remains the events which took place on the sidelines involving wideout Robbie Anderson. After a number of exchanges with receivers coach Joe Dailey, Anderson was sent to the locker room by interim head coach Steve Wilks.

The 29-year-old addressed the matter when speaking to the media post-game, following a discussion with general manager Scott Fitter. His remarks, in turn, followed Wilks’ brief comments, in which he simply said, “no one is bigger than the team.”

“I was honestly confused, and upset by it as I should be,” Anderson said of his removal from the contest in advance of a third down play. “It’s third down, and I’m being taken out of the game. I don’t think I should be OK with that. So I made a comment, why am I being taken out. So that’s that.”

Anderson was on the field for 52% of the Panthers’ snaps in their loss to the Rams, but was not targeted. Carolina’s offense – led by quarterback P.J. Walker for much of the game, then Jacob Eason at the end – was largely centered on running back Christian McCaffrey, and struggled in a similar fashion to previous weeks, something which largely contributed to Matt Rhule‘s firing.

That move, coupled with Anderson’s underwhelming production, has led to increased trade speculation. During his post-game remarks, though, the Temple alum denied that he wanted out of the organization, adding, “I’ve been in trade rumors before. It’s part of the game. I don’t let it affect me.”

Nonetheless, a deal sending Anderson elsewhere is something which “he would welcome,” per Ian Rapoport of NFL Network (video link). The Panthers would incur a significant dead money charge in the event of either a trade or release of the veteran, who still has one year remaining on the $29.5MM extension he signed in 2020. They have until November 1 to find a trade partner, so the urgency with which they work on this front will remain an intriguing storyline in the coming days.

Panthers WR Robbie Anderson Dismissed By HC Steve Wilks

The beginning of the post-Matt Rhule era in Carolina hasn’t been devoid of drama. Veteran receiver Robbie Anderson was sent from the team’s sidelines to the dressing room by interim head coach Steve Wilks midway through the game against the Rams (video link via The Athletic’s Joe Person). The incident will, in all likelihood, mark the end of his Panthers tenure. 

Anderson had been involved in multiple heated arguments with members of the team’s coaching staff before leaving the field. He saw limited playing time prior to the incident, and was not targeted. On the season, the 29-year-old has totaled 206 yards and a touchdown on 13 receptions – a far cry from the 95/1096/3 statline he produced in 2020, his first season as a Panther.

With Rhule gone, the Temple alum has been named one of the most logical trade candidates amongst several players teams have inquired about in recent days. He has a 2022 base salary of just over $1MM, but is on the books for 2023 as well at a cap figure of $21.7MM as a result of a restructure. The market for Anderson was likely lukewarm at best considering his production, but Person confirmed yesterday (on Twitter) that the Panthers were indeed shopping him (compared to simply the willingness they have shown in fielding calls on other, more attractive players).

Carolina’s endeavors to move Anderson are sure to be accelerated after tonight. If they cannot find a trade partner before next month’s deadline, CBS Sports’ Jonathan Jones notes that the team will “very likely” release him after the season ends.

When addressing the media after the game – which ended in a 24-10 loss for Carolina – Wilks remained non-committal regarding Anderson’s place on the team moving forward (Twitter link via ESPN’s David Newton). He added that he will speak privately to Anderson; when the dust has settled, how both parties move forward will be worth watching in the coming days.

Teams Calling Panthers On Christian McCaffrey; WR Robbie Anderson Available

As they did this spring, the Panthers are receiving calls on Christian McCaffrey‘s potential availability. While the team is listening to offers for the former All-Pro running back, Adam Schefter of ESPN.com notes it shut down multiple inquiries recently.

Matt Rhule‘s firing may or may not have spurred these calls, with Schefter adding the Panthers discussed McCaffrey with multiple teams last week. Carolina rebuffed two teams on CMC at that point and is not planning to accept a below-market trade just to move the sixth-year back, Schefter adds. But McCaffrey trade buzz has been building over the past several days.

The Panthers have received “many calls” on players in the wake of Rhule’s firing, Ian Rapoport of NFL.com reports, but McCaffrey has generated the most interest. CMC is tied to the four-year, $64MM extension he signed back in April 2020. It will take an “overwhelming” return to convince Carolina to move on from its longtime running back, Rapoport adds. This reminds of the team’s ask when McCaffrey’s name came up in trades in March. The Panthers wanted a first-round pick and a player on a manageable deal at that point.

McCaffrey profiles as perhaps the Panthers’ most interesting trade candidate, due to his profile and the unlikelihood the Panthers part ways with Brian Burns or D.J. Moore. While the latter duo look like longer-term Panthers cogs, due to age an positional value, McCaffrey is still just 26. And he has played in each of Carolina’s five games this season, temporarily minimizing concerns about his extensive injury past. Moore indeed is being viewed as untradeable, Rapoport adds, with the recently extended wideout being considered a big part of the franchise’s future. Carolina is also resistant to move pieces off its rebuilt offensive line, per Rapoport.

Burns and defensive tackle Derrick Brown are not believed to be on the table, Schefter adds (on Twitter). Teams are understandably interested in both young D-linemen, but each makes sense as a player the Panthers want to build around beyond 2022. The franchise has a different stance on Robbie Anderson, whom Rapoport and Schefter identify as a player who could be had in a trade. Conversations have occurred on Anderson, per Schefter.

Anderson, one of the many Temple alums who joined the team during Rhule’s tenure, has underwhelmed since a strong 2020 Carolina debut. Still, the ex-Jet deep threat posted a 95-catch, 1,096-yard season in 2020, enticing the Panthers to extend him. Anderson is signed through the 2023 season, via the two-year, $29.5MM extension he signed in 2021.

The former UDFA, who is going through his age-29 season, is tied to just a $1MM base salary this year. Carolina restructured Anderson’s contract this offseason. The deal calls for a nonguaranteed $8.8MM salary in 2023. The restructure could make Anderson, his recent struggles (albeit with a bottom-end quarterback situation) notwithstanding, an interesting trade chip. Anderson, who totaled just 519 yards in 2021 despite playing 17 games, has 13 receptions for 206 yards this year. Anderson came up in trade talks with the Patriots this offseason, but New England moved on with a DeVante Parker swap.

McCaffrey, whose deal runs through 2025, has appeared on Carolina’s injury report multiple times but has not run into the kind of trouble he experienced over the past two years. Multiple leg injuries led to McCaffrey missing 23 games since 2020, weakening Carolina’s Rhule-era offense. He has amassed 512 scrimmage yards and scored three touchdowns this season.

No guaranteed money remains on McCaffrey’s deal beyond 2022, and thanks to a 2022 restructure, he is also down to a league-minimum salary this season. The second-generation NFLer is due $11.8MM in 2023 and ’24, however, and $12MM in 2025. It would cost the Panthers $7.6MM in dead money if they dealt McCaffrey before the Nov. 1 deadline.

Panthers’ Post-Rhule Fallout: Termination, Replacement, Trades

The NFL news circuit was set ablaze today when news broke of the firings of Panthers head coach Matt Rhule and defensive coordinator Phil Snow. The termination of Rhule was not necessarily a surprise, as he’s been firmly on the hot seat all year and the possibility of firing Rhule had been discussed “well before” today, according to Josina Anderson of CBS Sports, but it did create a newsworthy fallout of information that is of interest to those who follow the sport.

Many have talked about the contract implications of Rhule’s termination, alluding to the millions of dollars still remaining on his contract. While it’s completely applicable to Rhule’s situation, it doesn’t sound like it is a concern to Carolina. Ian Rapoport of NFL Network tweeted out that “Carolina is on the hook for this season, but the salaries for the ensuing seasons are offset by what his future college job pays him.” Essentially, Rhule will absolutely get his guaranteed money, but the onus won’t be on Carolina to pay it. Whenever Rhule, who is presumed to be a top college coaching candidate for next year, gets another job, his salary from the new school will offset the amount the Panthers owe him.

It was also announced that Panthers defensive passing game coordinator & secondary coach Steve Wilks will sub in as the interim head coach for the remainder of the season. The defensive-minded former head coach of the Cardinals has apparently already begun to make the team his own. When Panthers owner David Tepper was asked why Snow was fired, he reportedly pointed the finger at Wilks, telling reporters to direct that question to the interim head coach, according to ESPN’s David Newton.

Here are a few more fallout items from today, starting with some ideas on Rhule’s replacement:

  • The biggest nugget to come out of today concerning Carolina is that, as most NFL executives expected Rhule to lose his job, many in league circles are expecting the Panthers to start dealing veteran assets in an attempt to accrue draft capital that might make the head coaching position more attractive, according to Jason La Canfora of the Washington Post. The Panthers currently only hold four draft picks for 2023: first-, second-, fourth-, and fifth-round picks, supporting the idea that trading away veterans could improve their current situation. Trading away veterans with expensive contracts, such as star running back Christian McCaffrey or wide receiver Robbie Anderson, could prove troublesome, according to La Canfora, so the Panthers are reportedly willing to eat some of those salaries in order to facilitate moving those assets. Early reports claimed that the Bills have reached out about McCaffrey and that they did in the offseason, as well, according to Person, but Tom Pelissero of NFL Network clarified that, while every team will be calling about McCaffrey, the Panthers haven’t engaged in any trade talks yet. In addition to McCaffrey and Anderson, Jonathan Jones of CBS Sports expects wide receiver D.J. Moore, defensive end Brian Burns, and defensive tackle Derrick Brown to be on the table.
  • Jeff Howe of The Athletic posed the question today of who might replace Rhule and offered quite a few suggestions. Howe started the list with Cowboys defensive coordinator Dan Quinn who took the Falcons to the Super Bowl as head coach in 2016. Next, he mentioned 49ers defensive coordinator DeMeco Ryans. Ryans interviewed for the Vikings’ job this offseason and was expected to interview for the Raiders’, as well. The 38-year-old has rocketed up coaching boards since retiring as a player in 2015. Another name mentioned was Eagles defensive coordinator Jonathan Gannon who also interviewed for the Vikings last year, in addition to the Texans and Broncos. Howe went into great detail on every candidate, seeming to list anybody who may be up for a head coaching job in the next few seasons. His list included former NFL head coaches including the retired Sean Payton, Steelers senior defensive assistant and linebackers coach Brian Flores, Bills defensive coordinator Leslie Frazier, and former Colts and Lions head coach Jim Caldwell, as well as the current interim head coach, Wilks. Other serious candidates Howe mentioned were Rams defensive coordinator Raheem Morris, Chiefs offensive coordinator Eric Bieniemy, Eagles offensive coordinator Shane Steichen, Patriots inside linebackers coach Jerod Mayo, and Raiders defensive coordinator Patrick Graham. The list essentially devolved into an article about anybody who may make the jump to NFL head coach in the next few seasons, pointing out “wait and see” candidates such as Rams offensive coordinator Liam Coen, Ravens offensive coordinator Greg Roman, Buccaneers offensive coordinator Byron Leftwich, Bengals defensive coordinator Lou Anarumo, Bills offensive coordinator Ken Dorsey, Giants offensive coordinator Mike Kafka, Dolphins offensive coordinator Frank Smith, Cowboys offensive coordinator Kellen Moore, Broncos defensive coordinator Ejiro Evero, Jaguars defensive coordinator Mike Caldwell, and Giants defensive coordinator Don “Wink” Martindale.
  • One interesting name that came out of today’s rumors was former Panthers All-Pro linebacker Luke Kuechly. Joe Person of The Athletic advised that an eye be kept on Kuechly, who remains close with Wilks and new defensive coordinator Al Holcomb, to come back in some capacity. After retiring from a pro scout position last year, Kuechly has been working as an analyst on Panthers radio broadcasts.