Panthers make no moves at NFL trade deadline, was that smart?

Carolina Panthers

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (WNCN) – Despite embarking on a three-game slide after winning their first three games, the Carolina Panthers made no moves on the day of the NFL’s trade deadline on Tuesday.

Sitting at .500, the 4-4 Panthers are just two games back of the NFC South lead and currently hold the seventh and final NFC playoff spot if the postseason were to begin today.

But did Carolina need to make a deal?

Not necessarily.

The Panthers already traded for quarterback Sam Darnold in the offseason and just traded for Super Bowl veteran cornerback Stephon Gilmore to help plug holes in their defense.

Despite multiple reports of Carolina being interested in Houston Texans QB Deshaun Watson, Watson stayed put in the Lonestar state altogether. Darnold began the season 3-0, but was benched less than two weeks ago in a horrendous 25-3 loss against an injury-ridden New York Giants team the Panthers were favored in.

But, General Manager Scott Fitterer and head coach Matt Rhule decided to give Darnold, who has only played eight games in the blue and black more time.

Additionally, Carolina made unexpected waves Oct. 6 when it pulled off a trade with the New England Patriots for an All-Pro corner.

The 31-year-old Gilmore had been replaced in New England, but not due to talent. He simply faced an injured reserve stint and was surpassed by younger talent, such as J.C. Jackson.

Carolina got the former Defensive Player-of-the-Year for a 2023 sixth-round pick just before he became a free agent.

Gilmore and Darnold are also two of the Panthers’ top-five most expensive players, proving the commitment they have to those players in significant positions.

Multiple reports said Carolina could be in the market for a wide receiver or running back with the abysmal play of its wideouts and the injuries to its RB corps.

WR Robby Anderson is currently the highest-paid wideout, making nearly $15 million per season, but has just 204 yards on 18 catches in eight games this season.

No. 1 WR D.J. Moore has three times the receiving yards in the same amount of games played, 645, and one additional touchdown (three).

Meanwhile, Pro Bowl RB Christian McCaffrey is on his second IR stint in as many seasons and has played in just six games in the last two seasons (24).

But, rookie backup Chuba Hubbard is likely why Carolina made no short-term deal for a back. In five starts he has 391 yards and two TDs. He has also added 119 yards – on the same amount of receptions as Anderson – through eight games.

Carolina has two tougher tests in the next two weeks, taking on the Patriots at home before traveling to Glendale, Arizona, for a date with the Cardinals. But, they take on the Washington Football Team on the road on Nov. 21 before traveling to Miami for a date with the current one-win Dolphins.

After that, the Panthers will hit their bye, with a possible .500 or better record.

With that record in the middle of December, the Panthers will likely be in the home stretch of a playoff berth. Making moves prior to the NFL’s official trade deadline seemed to be beneficial thus far for Carolina.

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