The Carolina Panthers were so close to unexpectedly taking over first place in the NFC South over the weekend. Locked in a tight contest against the Atlanta Falcons, the Panthers scored an improbable touchdown in the final minute of the game as P.J. Walker hit D.J. Moore for a 62-yard touchdown with 12 seconds remaining in the game. Now, they have turned down an absolutely massive trade offer from the Los Angeles Rams.
Moore removed his helmet after the play, which led to a 15-yard penalty on the extra point. Eddy Pineiro missed the subsequent try, pushing the game into overtime. Pineiro would miss again, this time from 32-yards, in overtime, leaving the door open for the Falcons, who won the game on a Younghoe Koo kick from 41 yards out.
It was a crushing blow as the Panthers are now 2-6 and in the cellar of the NFC South division. Given the fact that the 4-4 Falcons are in first place, there is still some hope for Carolina to turn things around and get back into the playoff race. But, they have already begun their house cleaning and it wouldn’t shock anyone if they continued doing so ahead of the trade deadline today.
Head coach Matt Rhule was fired after starting the season 1-4. Wide receiver Robbie Anderson and running back Christian McCaffrey were both traded. There have been rumors swirling that teams are also calling about Moore and pass rusher Brian Burns, but the Panthers reportedly want to keep them because they are foundational pieces going forward.
Just how serious is Carolina about not trading them? According to Albert Breer of Monday Morning Quarterback, the Panthers turned down a monster, quarterback-level trade proposal from the Los Angeles Rams that was centered around Burns.
Just how big of an offer are we talking about? The Rams reportedly offered two first-round picks in a deal for Burns, but the Panthers declined the offer.
If that offer was made, it goes to show just how important of a piece the Panthers believe Burns to be. Given how poorly the Rams have performed this season, their first-round picks could hold some excellent value in the future as they are closer to being the No. 1 pick in the NFL Draft than they are to being Super Bowl contenders able to defend their title.
Burns has recorded back-to-back nine-sack seasons after picking up 7.5 sacks as a rookie. He is well on track to record at least another nine sacks this season as he has five in eight games to go along with eight tackles for loss and nine quarterback hits.