Robby Anderson

Panthers’ Robbie Anderson Contemplating Retirement?

JUNE 15: Addressing the matter at Panthers minicamp, Anderson said he was merely “thinking out loud” and was not seriously considering walking away, via’s Darin Gantt (on Twitter). Two years remain on the wideout’s current Carolina contract.

JUNE 12: Panthers wide receiver Robbie Anderson — who announced this offseason that he would be changing the spelling of his first name from “Robby” to “Robbie” — tweeted yesterday that he was contemplating retirement. “Ain’t gone lie Thinking bout Retiring,” Anderson said (via Michael David Smith of Pro Football Talk). Anderson later deleted the tweet.

It’s unclear if Anderson is truly considering leaving the game, or if he had something else on his mind. With mandatory minicamp scheduled to take place this week, there may be more clarity in that regard in short order. For now, he is expected to reprise his role as a starting boundary receiver opposite D.J. Moore.

In 2020, his first year in Carolina, Anderson posted career-highs in targets (136), receptions (95), and receiving yards (1,096). The deep threat’s yards-per-reception rate (11.5) was down considerably from the averages he posted as a member of the Jets, but that could be explained by the fact that the Panthers deployed Teddy Bridgewater — whose deep ball is not a strength — under center that season. On the flip side, Anderson’s catch percentage, which never exceeded 58.8% during his time in New York, skyrocketed to 69.9% in 2020, thereby demonstrating that he could work intermediate routes just as well as deep routes.

The Panthers handed Anderson a two-year, $29.5MM extension shortly before the 2021 season got underway, but in a campaign filled with inconsistent quarterback play from Sam Darnold, Cam Newton, and P.J. Walker, the former UDFA took a major step back in almost every statistical category. Anderson was still targeted 110 times, but he caught just 53 of those targets, for a career-worst catch percentage of 48.2%. His 519 receiving yards and 9.8 yards-per-reception were also career lows.

Perhaps attempting to buy low, the Patriots engaged the Panthers in trade talks earlier this offseason. Nothing materialized on that front, although Carolina — which subsequently added Rashard Higgins in free agency — was reportedly more than willing to listen to offers.

The club and Anderson later agreed to a restructure for cap purposes, whereby $11.765MM of Anderson’s 2022 salary was converted to a signing bonus. As Smith observes, Anderson would have to pay back that signing bonus if he were to retire, so it seems unlikely that he will actually hang up the cleats this year.

However, the 29-year-old’s future in Charlotte beyond 2022 is certainly up in the air. Although he is under contract through 2023 as a result of the aforementioned extension, his cap charge for the 2023 season spikes to $21.7MM from just under $11MM this year. If he can return to his 2020 level of performance, player and team could work out another extension, and if he cannot, the Panthers will almost certainly release him.

Speculatively, Anderson’s retirement chatter might have stemmed from discontent with the Panthers’ QB situation. The club was unsuccessful in its Deshaun Watson pursuit — which may not have been a bad thing, given recent developments — and currently has Darnold, Walker, and third-round rookie Matt Corral as the top three passers on the depth chart. Carolina continues to be linked to Browns passer Baker Mayfield, but Anderson seems to be decidedly against a potential Mayfield acquisition.

Latest On Panthers QB Plans

While the NFL’s quarterback carousel is just about complete, we still don’t have clarity on the Panthers’ QB position. Heading into the offseason, GM Scott Fitterer admitted that the quarterback job was “open,” but after losing out in the Deshaun Watson sweepstakes, Fitterer walked back his remarks and stated that incumbent Sam Darnold was in the lead for the starting nod. Now, with the NFL Draft coming up at the end of the month, the organization still isn’t ruling out selecting a QB with the No. 6 pick.

[RELATED: Panthers Considering Trades For No. 6 Pick]

According to Jason La Canfora of CBS Sports, the “consensus of the people in this league” is that the Panthers will ultimately select a QB in the upcoming draft, with Malik Willis and Kenny Pickett considered the favorites. While Albert Breer of agrees with the QB sentiment, he hasn’t heard as much buzz about Pickett, and “with jobs on the line this year,” the organization may play it safe by taking the most NFL-ready option. Besides Willis, Breer also points to Matt Corral and Desmond Ridder as options. Sam Howell and Bailey Zappe were also included in the team’s 30 allotted prospect visits.

We learned recently that a trade down is a real possibility, and that could ultimately open the door to the Panthers selecting a quarterback with their first-round pick. The popular sentiment has been that No. 6 is too early to select from this year’s crop of quarterbacks. However, a trade for a mid-first would be “more palatable” for the front office.

While the Panthers could look to a first-round QB, Darnold still believes he’s ready to compete for the starting gig. Following an inconsistent start to his career with the Jets, Darnold underwhelmed during his first season with the Panthers, guiding the team to a 4-7 record while tossing nine touchdowns vs. 13 interceptions.

“It’s truly whatever happens happens, because at the end of the day it’s out of my control, and I know that,” Darnold,said during a recent podcast appearance (via ESPN’s David Newton). “I have enough security in myself where I can say, ‘I know I’m a good quarterback. I know I can be a good quarterback in this league. I’ve proved it.’

“And I know there’s a team, if something happens, that would want me.”

Meanwhile, following whispers that the Panthers could be the most likely landing spot for Browns QB Baker Mayfield, Panthers receiver Robby Anderson made it pretty clear what his feelings were on the rumors. On Instagram, Anderson commented “Nooooo” under a picture connecting Mayfield to Carolina (h/t Brad Stainbrook of CBS Sports on Twitter).

Restructured Deals: Packers, Broncos, Bills, Patriots, Giants

As free agency continues, teams will keep finding ways to open up additional cap. We’ve had a handful of reworked contracts in recent days, which we’ve compiled below:

  • The Packers opened $10.15MM in cap space by restructuring the contracts of wideout Randall Cobb (which was previously reported) and safety Adrian Amos, per ESPN’s Field Yates (on Twitter). ESPN’s Rob Demovsky tweets that Green Bay turned $5.88MM of Amos’ $7MM base salary into a signing bonus and added four void years.
  • The Broncos opened up some space via a pair of restructured deals. Wideout Tim Patrick converted $6.9MM of his roster bonus into a signing bonus, creating around $4.6MM in cap space, per Mike Klis of 9News in Denver (on Twitter). The Broncos also converted receiver Courtland Sutton‘s $10.5MM roster bonus into a signing bonus, saving $7.875MM in 2022 cap space, per Klis (on Twitter).
  • The Panthers converted $11.765MM of wideout Robby Anderson’s 2022 pay into a signing bonus, creating $5.88MM in cap space, per Yates (on Twitter). Staying in the NFC, Yates also tweets that the Eagles converted $14.88MM of cornerback Darius Slay’s salary into a signing bonus, creating $11.90MM in 2022 cap space.
  • The Giants converted $2.63MM of kicker Graham Gano’s salary into a bonus, creating $1.753MM in cap space, per ESPN’s Jordan Raanan (on Twitter). The team also added a void year to the contract, something GM Joe Schoen was trying to avoid (per Raanan).
  • After getting traded to the Bills, quarterback Case Keenum agreed to rework his contract. Per Yates (on Twitter), Keenum reduced his base salary to $3.5MM. Another AFC East team, the Patriots, also got into the game, reducing defensive end Henry Anderson‘s base salary from $2.5MM to $1.25MM (per Yates).
  • Yates passes along three more restructures (on Twitter): the Vikings opened $6MM in cap space by reworking safety Harrison Smith‘s contract, the Bills opened $5.172MM via linebacker Matt Milano‘s contract, and the Titans opened $6.45MM via linebacker Zach Cunningham‘s contract.

Patriots, Panthers Discuss Robby Anderson

Although the Patriots completed a decent bounce-back effort last season, they did not equip Mac Jones with much help at the wide receiver position. New England might address that need with a veteran.

The Pats contacted the Panthers on Robby Anderson, per The Athletic’s Joe Person and Jeff Howe (Twitter link). No deal is imminent, Person tweets, but after Anderson regressed last year, the team is “more than willing” to listen. The Panthers gave Anderson a two-year, $29.5MM extension before last season.

While Carolina’s quarterback situation was not exactly conducive to wideout production, D.J. Moore still surpassed 1,100 yards. Anderson slid from 1,096 with Teddy Bridgewater in 2020 to a career-worst 519 during the Panthers’ chaotic QB season. The Patriots are certainly familiar with Anderson’s work, from his four Jets seasons. Anderson, who will turn 29 in May, is due $10MM and $8.8MM base salaries over the next two years.

No Pats receiver topped 900 yards last season, and ex-UDFA Jakobi Meyers has led the team in receiving in each of the two post-Tom Brady years. Meyers can be kept in 2022 via RFA tender, while the Pats have 2021 additions Nelson Agholor and Kendrick Bourne under contract. Bourne is signed through 2023, with Agholor’s deal up after the ’22 slate. Agholor finished with just 473 yards last season — fourth-most on the team — despite signing a two-year, $26MM accord. His cap number is set to spike from $6.9MM last year to $14.9MM in 2022. N’Keal Harry remains a Patriot, but the former first-rounder has never factored in prominently in this offense.

New England has not been shy about trading for wideouts in recent years. Brandin Cooks, Mohamed Sanu, Josh Gordon and Phillip Dorsett came to Foxborough via trade since 2017. It will be interesting to see if other names pop up beyond Anderson for the wideout-needy team.

Panthers Extend Robby Anderson

The Panthers will keep Robby Anderson around for a while. On Tuesday, the wide receiver agreed to a two-year, $29.5MM re-up (Twitter link via’s Ian Rapoport). The deal gives him $14.75M per year and more than $20MM guaranteed at signing.

This marks yet another lucrative short-term deal for Anderson, who inked a two-year, $20MM contract with the Panthers last year. Now set to enter his age-28 season, the former UDFA will have a chance to cash in all over again before his 30th birthday.

After reconnecting with old Temple pal Matt Rhule, Anderson set new career highs in receptions (95) and yards (1,096). In fact, the 95 catches were 32 more than the 6’3″ wideout ever totaled in a single season. He also had three touchdowns, a mark that he could easily top in 2021.

Anderson was always a downfield threat with the Jets, but he really put it all together in Joe Brady‘s Panthers offense. Together with D.J. Moore, the WRs combined for nearly 2,300 yards in their first season together. The Panthers are expecting more of the same going forward, though they’ll have to address Moore’s deal beyond 2022.

Panthers, Robby Anderson Nearing Extension

The Panthers are close to extending their partnership with Robby Anderson, whose two-year contract could soon lead to a longer-term deal. The sides are deep in extension talks, Joseph Person of The Athletic reports.

This deal may well come to pass this week, per Person, and it would represent a key step for Carolina’s passing attack. Anderson signed a two-year, $20MM deal as a free agent last year. With that pact expiring at season’s end, the Panthers appear keen on keeping Matt Rhule‘s former Temple charge in the fold well into the 2020s. It would further a turnaround for Anderson, who dealt with off-field trouble in New York.

A downfield threat with the Jets, Anderson became a quick study in Joe Brady‘s Panthers offense by setting new career-high marks for receptions (95) and yards (1,096). The 95 catches were 32 more than the 6-foot-3 wideout previously totaled in a season. Anderson and D.J. Moore combined for nearly 2,300 yards in their first season together.

This will be Anderson’s age-28 season, and the sixth-year veteran would be bypassing a second run in free agency to stay with Carolina. This move would also affect Moore’s future. A 2018 first-round pick, Moore is signed through the 2022 season — thanks to the Panthers picking up his fifth-year option in May — and, at 24, will command a bigger contract than Anderson. If an Anderson extension does come to pass, it will play into Moore’s future negotiations.

The Panthers opted not to pay Curtis Samuel, allowing the emerging pass catcher to depart for Washington, and have replacement Terrace Marshall Jr. locked into a rookie deal through at least 2023. The team’s $24.4MM in cap space also sits third in the NFL. While the Panthers’ long-term quarterback situation is uncertain, they appear close to locking down Sam Darnold‘s top Jets option and potentially keeping this pair together long-term.

Latest On Sam Darnold, Panthers’ Draft Plans

Shortly after the Panthers’ trade for quarterback Sam Darnold was completed, it was reported that Carolina would pick up Darnold’s fifth-year option for 2022. After all, it wouldn’t make sense for the team to trade three draft picks for a young passer without giving that passer at least two seasons to show what he can do.

However, the club has not exercised the option just yet. As Joe Person of The Athletic points out, virtually no teams have made official decisions on the fifth-year options for their 2018 first-rounders (the deadline to do so is May 3). So it could simply be that the Panthers’ brass just hasn’t gotten around to it.

Or, it could mean that the club is waiting to see if a collegiate passer it likes falls to its No. 8 overall selection. According to Person, the Panthers are not in love with Trey Lance or Mac Jones, and it’s a foregone conclusion that Trevor Lawrence and Zach Wilson will be the first two players off the board. So if Ohio State signal-caller Justin Fields — who is said to “intrigue” the Carolina front office — is there for the taking at No. 8, perhaps he could be the pick, which could lead to Darnold having his fifth-year option declined.

A source tells Person that Darnold’s option is still expected to be exercised. And with the Panthers having emerged as a legitimate trade-down candidate, perhaps this is all part of a ploy to drive up the price of the No. 8 pick. A trade down the board would allow Carolina to recoup some much-needed draft capital while still putting the team in range for one of the draft’s top cornerbacks (according to Person, the Panthers are high on several first-round CB prospects). Although Oregon’s Penei Sewell will likely be gone by the time the Panthers are on the clock, another quality LT could be had at No. 8 or a little bit later if the team chooses to move down.

In addition to Darnold, Carolina also has another 2018 first-rounder, D.J. Moore, to make a fifth-year decision on. The Panthers will almost certainly exercise his option, which checks in at $11.116MM, so the team may need to part with Robby Anderson in 2022. Which means, as David Newton of writes, a wide receiver like Alabama’s DeVonta Smith or Jaylen Waddle could be in play. Either receiver would go a long way towards helping Darnold both this year and in the future.

Jets Notes: Bell, Gase, Darnold, Anderson

Here is the latest from the Jets, beginning with some fallout from their disappointing Le’Veon Bell contract:

  • Adam Gase took issue with Bell’s social media habits and was said to have expressed dissatisfaction with the running back last season. That was a two-way street, to a degree. Bell expressed disappointment in Gase’s game plans in 2019, per Manish Mehta of the New York Daily News. Bell discussed the prospect of requesting a trade this offseason, should his Jets situation fail to improve, but decided instead to stay the course, Mehta adds. This, however, ended up being a moot subject — largely because of Bell’s disastrous contract. The Jets, who previously shopped Bell’s lucrative deal, released him Tuesday.
  • The Jets will be without Sam Darnold again this week against the Dolphins. The team will hold its starting quarterback out of its Week 6 contest, giving offseason addition Joe Flacco another start. Flacco averaged just 5.9 yards per attempt in a 195-yard day against the Cardinals.
  • By Sunday, Darnold will have missed seven career starts in his three-season NFL tenure. Durability may be a concern, even though Darnold’s absences have been related to two separate injuries and mononucleosis. The former No. 3 overall pick’s coverage recognition, however, has been a discussion point this season, per Rich Cimini of The Jets will need to decide on Darnold’s fifth-year option by May, but they may be in position to draft Clemson prodigy Trevor Lawrence. More intel on Darnold will be necessary by season’s end, even if the team does not land the No. 1 overall pick.
  • Robby Anderson‘s Panthers pact has thus far worked out well for Carolina. On a three-game win streak, the Panthers have seen the former Jets deep threat thrive in an all-around role. Anderson has eclipsed 99 receiving yards in four of Carolina’s five games and leads the team — by more than 100 yards — with 489. Anderson did not produce a 1,000-yard season with the Jets and intimated he prefers his Panthers role. “I love being in this system because for so long it was, ‘Oh, he’s only a deep threat,'” Anderson said during an interview with Josina Anderson (via Cimini). “It used to eat me up because I’m like, ‘I know what I can do.’ I love that I’m in this offense, where I really get to catch and run and play football.” Anderson signed a two-year, $20MM deal ($12MM guaranteed) with Carolina.

AFC Rumors: Slay, Anderson, Browns

Not only were the Raiders in on just about every big-name free agent cornerback, they pursued a Darius Slay deal as well. In addition to offers for Byron Jones and Chris Harris, and what turned out to be a failed deal with Eli Apple, the Raiders kicked the tires on a Slay trade with the Lions, Scott Bair of NBC Sports Bay Area notes. A trade target of multiple teams before the 2019 deadline, Slay ended up going to the Eagles for just third- and fifth-round picks. Of course, it also cost the Eagles $30MM fully guaranteed — third-most among corners.

The Raiders’ pursuit of 2020’s group of available corners points to them giving strong consideration to adding one with one of their two first-round picks, and Bair adds there is a “strong belief” corner is a high Raider priority entering the draft. As it stands now, Las Vegas is understaffed at the position.

Here is the latest from around the AFC:

  • For weeks, rumors of a JetsRobby Anderson reunion circulated. Anderson said the Jets wanted him back and that he wanted to stay. The team was reported to be eyeing an Anderson agreement — but only at a price. Anderson instead signed a two-year, $20MM Panthers deal. A report emerged this week about the four-year veteran turning down a four-year, $40MM Jets offer, but Anderson (via The Athletic’s Joseph Person, subscription required) denied such a proposal occurred. The Jets moved quickly to replace Anderson with Breshad Perriman for one year and $6MM. They will likely enter the draft with a big receiver need.
  • The Browns have shopped Olivier Vernon in trades and, as of late February, were not expected to pay him the $15.25MM salary he’s due in the final year of his contract. But a change of thinking may have occurred. The Browns are interested in Jadeveon Clowney, but unless that partnership happens, Mary Kay Cabot of the Cleveland Plain Dealer expects Vernon to be back with the Browns in 2020. The Browns still have Myles Garrett on his rookie deal, and Cabot adds that — be it Clowney or Vernon — they are willing to carry a big salary at defensive end next season. Vernon struggled during an injury-plagued 2019 in Cleveland, registering just 3.5 sacks and tallying 11 quarterback hits.
  • Bills GM Brandon Beane sidestepped a question centered around Stefon Diggs‘ satisfaction with his contract. On a $14.4MM-per-year deal, the Buffalo-bound wideout is the NFL’s 13th-highest-paid player at his position. Four years remain on the deal.

Contract Details: Anderson, Pennel, Alexander

A handful of contract details to pass along: