For the first time in nine years, the Carolina Panthers will have someone other than Cam Newton under center. After back-to-back season-ending injuries, the team felt it was in their best interest to move on and start from scratch, which is exactly what they did by releasing Newton and signing two quarterbacks this offseason.
We can have a day long conversation about whether or not the Panthers mishandled Newton's departure, but today, we are here to talk about the quarterbacks on the roster.
So, let's have at it. Below is a look at how the quarterback room should shake out this fall.
Starter - Teddy Bridgewater
One could argue that the Panthers' signing of Teddy Bridgewater may be the most underrated move this offseason. Sure, he hasn't put together an All-Pro resume, but injuries have hindered him earlier in his career and he's finally getting his second chance to lead a team.
I've seen many folks question the arm strength of Bridgewater and although I can't necessarily disagree, he is still capable of throwing the ball downfield if needed. Joe Brady's offense is designed to get the ball into his playmakers’ hands in space, which involves a heavy dosage of the the underneath passing game and getting the ball out quick - which Bridgewater is exceptional at.
It remains to be seen whether or not Bridgewater can be the guy that can lead the Panthers back to the promise land, but he has the tools to be successful. It also helps to have guys like Christian McCaffrey, D.J. Moore, Robby Anderson, and Curtis Samuel to your arsenal to help relieve some of the pressure of leading an offense.
Backup - Will Grier
Fans, for the most part, have already given up all hope on the former third round draft pick out of West Virginia. Although he looked the furthest thing from sharp in his rookie campaign, it was an extremely small sample size.
The team was already in a nose-dive and tumbling toward one of the league's worst records. Poor play on both sides of the ball plus a coaching change was not a recipe for success for a rookie quarterback, no matter how you dice it. To expect much of Grier in the 1.5 games he played in would be unfair.
I have covered Grier for the last three years and there is a lot more to his game than what we have witnessed so far in the NFL. Is he going to be the heir apparent to Cam Newton? Meh, I don't know about that right now, but it's way too early to jump to conclusions. The fact is, GM Marty Hurney thought highly of him and invested in him by using their third round pick on him in 2019. Pulling the plug on a quarterback that you selected that early in the draft seems a bit premature. If the same issues arise in 2020, then you can certainly start to question his future in Carolina.
3rd String - P.J. Walker
After a year filled of troubles at the quarterback position, the Panthers wanted to have three solid options in the room heading into the 2020 season. Walker starred in the now debunked XFL, but brings an exciting brand of football to the table. He is certainly the most mobile of the quarterbacks on the roster, but has a pretty impressive arm for his size.
Keeping three quarterbacks on the roster may seem unlikely, but Matt Rhule may be willing to carry three while in his first year and having to deal with COVID-19. Should one of the quarterbacks catch the virus, there will need to be another option waiting in the balances. That's not to say that Walker can't beat Grier outright for the backup spot, but it may be an uphill battle competing with someone who they drafted in the third round.
What do you think about the Panthers' quarterback room heading into the 2020 season? Let us know your thoughts in the comment section below!
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