The Carolina Panthers are one of the few teams in the league that still needs to figure out the quarterback position for the 2022 season. It would likely be seen as a disappointment by the fans and a failure by the front office if the starter in Week 1 was Sam Darnold.
Darnold got off to a hot start in his first season in Carolina, helping the team jump out to a 3-0 start. He looked like the answer they had been looking for at the quarterback position, but things quickly unraveled.
Darnold reverted to the form he showed with the New York Jets, finishing the 2021 season with more interceptions than touchdowns thrown and failing to complete 60 percent of his passes. The risk that the Panthers took didn’t pay off and as a result, they are looking for another quarterback this offseason.
The team used a third-round pick on Matt Corral, but the team cannot count on him being a starter in his rookie season, let alone Week 1. One player that could be on their radar is Jimmy Garoppolo of the San Francisco 49ers.
Garoppolo remained on their roster through the 2022 NFL Draft as the shoulder surgery that he underwent brought his trade market to a screeching halt. As long as he is going to be healthy enough to start in Week 1, he is someone that the Panthers should be pursuing aggressively.
Bleacher Report believes the Panthers should trade a 2023 second-round pick to San Francisco to land Garoppolo. While Garoppolo has his shortcomings, he is someone that has led the 49ers to the NFC Championship Game in both of his last healthy seasons, advancing to the Super Bowl once where they lost to the Kansas City Chiefs.
Garoppolo’s price tag, as he has a cap hit of nearly $27 million is a hurdle to get over, but the Panthers can fit that into their salary cap. If they take all of it, they can try and haggle down the asking price, as the 49ers need to move on from Garoppolo.
Carolina is a team that is in a position to make some noise this season with improved play under center. They made major upgrades to the offensive line, selecting Ikem Ekwonwu and Cade Mays in the 2022 NFL Draft. Those moves came after the team signed Austin Corbett and Bradley Bozeman in free agency, as the Panthers are set up to make a major move up the offensive line rankings after finishing 31st last season.
With Christian McCaffery, D.J. Moore, Robby Moore and Terrace Marshall Jr. in the fold, the pieces for a successful offense are in place. Garoppolo could help bring it all together, elevating the unit to match the strides they have made defensively.