With a fairly limited field of soon-to-be-available quarterbacks to pick from, the Carolina Panthers might be beggars more than choosers in 2022. But they may be able to take advantage of another team’s suboptimal situation under center.
This past week, Michael Rand of the Star Tribune listed off five possible trade destinations for Minnesota Vikings quarterback Kirk Cousins. With one year remaining on what was a mega two-year, $66 million extension, the 8-9 Vikings could look to unload much of the onerous payday elsewhere as they rework their roster around.
And one of those destinations mentioned—at No. 4, in fact—was Carolina.
“Maybe not an obvious destination, not a ton of cap space,” Rand stated. “They have about $20 million to play with. But some things they can do to get more room. And if the Vikings were to trade Kirk Cousins, they can take on some more. He’s got that $45 million cap hit. $35 million would go out to the trading team. $10 million stays with the Vikings, but you could play with those numbers.”
A lot more than numbers may have to be played with in getting such a deal done. While Cousins is coming off an impressive campaign on paper—having thrown for 4,221 yards, 33 touchdowns and just seven interceptions—that cap hit as well as his historically underwhelming play in critical situations could have the Vikings looking to move on.
If so, perhaps general manager Scott Fitterer could squeeze out a solid draft pick or two in agreeing to take on the burden of that cash. The Panthers will be without their own selections in the second, third and fourth rounds of the upcoming draft due to their trades for quarterback Sam Darnold and cornerback CJ Henderson this past season.
“Like Miami, Carolina was a good team that was quarterback-poor last season. Undone a lot by their offense. Their defense was pretty decent. They have the 15th-best defense, 31st in offense though. Went 5-12 on the season after a 3-0 start. And they watched Kirk Cousins have one of the best games of the season against them in that Vikings overtime win in Carolina. So that could be one to watch as well.”
Cousins did have himself one of the best outings of his 2021 in that victory at Bank of America Stadium. The 33-year-old completed 33 of his 48 throws for a season-high 373 yards along with three touchdowns in a 34-28 walk-off win.
So . . . you like that?