With time running out on Thursday evening, the Carolina Panthers agreed to terms with offensive tackle Taylor Moton to a four-year, $72 million contract extension ($43 million guaranteed). A deal had to be reached ahead of the 4 p.m. EST deadline or Moton would have been playing under the franchise tag in 2021 and with an uncertain future.
Now that the extension is taken care of, Moton will be in Carolina through the 2025 season. For the first four years of his career, Moton has been at right tackle. Considering the never-ending revolving door at left tackle, should the Panthers make the move to slide Moton over to the left side?
Prior to the deal being done, I would have said no but now that you're paying Moton $72 million to protect your quarterback, you need to have him on the left side. Cameron Erving was slated to be the team's starting left tackle but he could flip over to the right side and create competition with Trent Scott and rookie Brady Christensen. The fact of the matter is when you're paying an offensive lineman that much money, he needs to assume the most important job and that is protecting Sam Darnold's blindside.
Carolina tinkered with the idea of moving him to left tackle by giving him some reps there during OTAs and minicamp. Following one of the practices, Moton discussed with reporters how much of a challenge it would be to move to the left side.
"It's definitely different because your footwork is different. Your hands are different. The playbook is different. Everything is flipped," Moton said. "I'm so used to going one way with my feet and my hips and my hands that it's not as comfortable obviously when you have to flip all of that in your mind. It's muscle memory. It's something that I've come to get more comfortable with reps and I know it's just something that takes more and more reps. I'm just making sure I'm going out of my way and doing everything that I can so that if I'm ever thrown in there, I'm ready as I can be."
Head coach Matt Rhule didn't necessarily come out and say which side he prefers Moton to be on but we know one thing, he won't be bouncing back and forth. It would be permanent.
"We're down some guys some days, and he kicks over there and plays some left tackle at times," Rhule said. "I think if we were planning on doing it, it would be a full-time move at this point. It's something where we're just giving him some reps. Just like the right guard sometimes plays left guard. Taylor's a great guy, and he always wants to challenge himself and try new things, so that's good."
Regardless of who is named the starting left tackle for the 2021 season, the Panthers will be starting their 8th different player at that spot in as many years. One way to break that trend? Taylor Moton.
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