The Carolina Panthers are an absolute dumpster fire this year.
They’ve already fired head coach Matt Rhule, just five weeks into the season. Quarterback Baker Mayfield is totally justifying the Cleveland Browns’ lack of faith in him, as he’s looked like one of the NFL’s worst signal-callers during his time in Carolina. And now he’s hurt, meaning the team will likely have to turn to former XFL star P.J. Walker under center.
With a lack of a head coach or franchise quarterback currently in their building, now may be a good time for the Panthers to enter full-on rebuild mode (again). That would mean selling off some of their current star players for draft picks.
And at the top of that list would be star wide receiver D.J. Moore.
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According to reports, several teams have already begun contacting the Panthers regarding Moore’s availability.
While I’m sure Moore would love to leave Carolina to join a contender with a competent quarterback, it may not be that easy from a logistical standpoint.
Moore, who’s also just 25-years-old, is currently playing out the final year of his rookie contract. However, he and the Panthers came to an agreement on a three-year extension which kicks in next season. Should the team trade Moore this season, they’ll be on the hook for a dead cap hit of just over $5-million this season, and $14,625,000 in 2023 (via Spotrac).
The good news is trading Moore would save them over $10-million against the cap next season, as the former first-round pick will account for just over $25-million against the cap in 2023. The bad news, however, is they’d still be paying that 14-million-plus against the cap, and they won’t have a star wideout to show for it.
If the Panthers see this as a long-term rebuild, though, they may want to consider getting whatever they can for Moore right now. His age and contract should help Carolina get a hefty return for him, and while they’ll have to swallow that cap hit in 2023, they will save over $20-million against the cap in 2024 and 2025.
It’ll be interesting to see which direction the Panther go from here. At this point, you have to believe that all options are on the table.
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