The Carolina Panthers made a major announcement on Monday as they fired head coach Matt Rhule. Steve Wilks will take over the team on an interim basis, as Rhule’s firing could be the first of multiple dominoes that could fall in the coming weeks.
Currently 1-4, this Panthers team is heading nowhere fast. Rhule was unable to get the most out of a roster that does have some solid pieces but was unable to address the quarterback spot, which is the most important position. Many players were under center for the Panthers during Rhule’s tenure, but none were able to rise to the occasion.
Some excellent prospects are going to be eligible for the 2023 NFL Draft, so Carolina could begin turning their attention to that. However, these are professionals and they are going to do their best to perform at a high level.
While the organization may shift its focus, the players currently on the team are going to play for pride and their next contracts. However, it is fair to ask, how many players will be in Carolina by the end of the season? With Rhule being fired, the team could be looking at another rebuild.
It is something organizations around the league have taken notice of and are looking to make the most of. According to FOX Sports via NFL Rumors on Twitter, multiple teams have contacted the Panthers about wide receiver D.J. Moore.
Moore has cemented himself as one of the premier pass catchers in the NFL, surpassing the 1,100-yard plateau the last three seasons despite erratic quarterback play. Alas, he has fallen victim to Baker Mayfield’s ineptitude in the same way that Odell Beckham Jr. did before him with the Cleveland Browns.
The Maryland product is an excellent talent, but Mayfield has struggled mightily to get him the ball and give him a chance to produce. Through five games, he has only 17 receptions on 37 targets for 197 yards and one touchdown.
Moore signed a three-year extension worth just under $62 million this past offseason that keeps him under contract through 2025. Based on the other deals that wide receivers signed this offseason, that is a relative steal for the Panthers.
Unless they are blown away by an offer, trading away Moore at this point would make very little sense for the Panthers. They seem destined to select a quarterback in the 2023 NFL Draft and if they want that player to find any success, surrounding him with weapons in the early going is a necessity.
Carolina has a great set of skill position players with Moore and Robbie Anderson at wide receiver and Christian McCaffrey at running back. The pieces are in place for a productive offense, the Panthers just have to find a quarterback capable of taking advantage.