The Panthers don’t tank. At least that’s what general manager Scott Fitterer says.
Hours after his team traded star running back Christian McCaffrey to the 49ers, the GM said it didn’t mark the start of a takedown in goal for the No. 1 pick in the 2023 NFL Draft.
“We had to figure out what’s best for the organization,” Fitterer said Friday. “Our goal is always to go out and compete every weekend. We expect to win. »
It was a season full of moves for the Panthers, who acquired quarterback Baker Mayfield before training camp, only to see him struggle as a starter before being sidelined by injury. The team also fired coach Matt Rhule after a 1-4 start.
Things in Carolina got even weirder this week when wide receiver Robby Anderson was kicked out of the Week 6 loss to the Rams by interim coach Steve Wilks, to be traded to Arizona.
News of McCaffrey’s blockbuster trade — which won the San Francisco Panthers the second, third and fourth rounds in 2023 and a fifth round in 2024 — opens up plenty of possibilities for Carolina, including the trade until the first selection.
The trade also erased McCaffrey’s Panthers salary caps in 2023 and 2024 by approximately $19.5 million and $14.5 million for 2025.
Wilks agreed with his boss’s anti-tank notion.
“There’s nothing like tanking when it comes to me or the men in this locker room,” he said.
Fitterer hinted at the possibility of another deal before the Nov. 1 trade deadline, but added it would take an “astronomical” deal to do anything.
Despite that, the GM has now replenished his draft picks after only having four picks in 2023 and five in 2024. In addition to the picks acquired as part of the McCaffrey deal, Anderson’s trade has brought the Cardinals’ sixth round in 2024 and seventh in 2025. -Round picks.
“It gives a lot of options with that number of picks,” said Fitterer, who if the season ended today would be the first pick. “If we don’t have to go up, it takes a lot of hits on the players.”
One shot the Panthers may want to target in 2023 is a quarterback. Neither Mayfield nor Sam Darnold appear to be long-term options and are both currently injured, while 2022 second-round pick Matt Corral suffered a season-ending foot injury during preseason.
The Panthers host division rival Tampa Bay on Sunday, looking to hand Wilks his first win as a head coach.
New York Post