The quarterback market in the NFL is heating up with the release of St. Louis Rams QB Marc Bulger, and the theoretical trade possibilities for Washington Redskins QB Jason Campbell with new sheriff Donovan McNabb in town. The Redskins have not specifically stated their intentions for Campbell, but it is widely speculated that they are looking to deal him, and the Panthers are a possible suitor.
So which quarterback makes more sense for the Panthers? Well, a lot of it depends on your faith in Matt Moore, but we can make a very good case for one of them based on recent moves by the organization. More on the possibilities after the jump...
In a case like this, it makes more sense to look at each QB and their situation individually as both are in completely different situations and at different points in their career. We'll start with...
Experience: 10 years
62.1% completion percentage, 22,814 yards, 122 TD, 93 INTs
2-time Pro Bowler in 2003 and 2006
Unrestricted Free Agent, released by St. Louis Rams
- 10 year NFL veteran with 8 seasons of starting experience
- Currently not under contract, and theoretically will not command a large contract
- Not likely to start a QB controversy, is likely to be happy in a backup role at this point in his career
- Has good upside potential despite his age, has proven to be productive when given time to throw the ball and when given decent offensive weapons around him
- A lot of wear and tear, history of injuries behind a dreadful St. Louis Rams offensive line in last half of his career.
- Despite his theoretical upside potential by moving to a team with better personnel in Carolina, he is certainly on the downslope of his career
- Not very mobile
Impact on the Panthers
Having already anointed QB Matt Moore the starter for the 2010 season, the Panthers will be looking for a serviceable veteran backup QB as an insurance policy in case of injury or ineptitude on Moore's behalf. By signing Bulger, the Panthers would gain the experience of an 8 year starter who has proven in the past that given a good offensive line can be very productive. A lot of Bulger's recent decline has been due to inconsistent protection along the Offensive Line, especially at LT. Bulger was at his best when Pro Bowl LT Orlando Pace was in the prime of his career, a situation that Bulger would return to with Pro Bowl LT Jordan Gross in Carolina. Bulger is likely to be happy in a backup role in Carolina, as years of wear and tear have begun to show from taking a pounding in STL. The Panthers wouldn't have to give up anything to sign Bulger, as he is an UFA. He also likely would not command a big contract, to the tune of likely $2-3m a year, fairly standard of an NFL veteran backup QB.
Experience: 6 years
61.2% completion percentage, 10,860 yds, 55 TDs, 38 INTs
Restricted Free Agent (1st rounder tender), Unsigned, Washington Redskins
- Fairly young QB with 4 years of starting experience
- Widely believe to still be reaching the peak of his career, ineffectiveness likely due to being thrust into a new offensive system every year as a starter or due to supporting cast
- Acquisition would likely prevent the need for the Panthers to draft a QB in earlier rounds in 2010
- Improved greatly in 2009, especially as the season progressed, reaching career highs in yardage, comp %, and TDs (but also INTs)
- Not injury prone
- While some believe ineffectiveness is due to system or supporting cast, others argue that he just isn't that good
- Likely to create a QB controversy both in preseason and during the regular season at the first sight of any ineffectiveness by Matt Moore, not likely to accept a backup role in an offense at his age.
- Likely to cost the Panthers compensation in the form of draft picks. Currently, his RFA offer has not be rescinded, which means anyone looking to sign him would have to do so to an offer sheet. If not matched by Washington, the signing team would owe a first round draft pick, not to mention what would likely be a fairly decent chunk of change to Campbell.
- Matt Moore has been jerked around enough this offseason, a move like this could either inspire his competitive side or alienate him. More likely the latter.
Impact on the Panthers
It is hard to say exactly how this move would impact the team. Right now, no one knows what the circumstances of his acquisition would be. The price is currently up in the air with his RFA tender still looming from the 'skins, as well as what kind of money he would command if he were to hit the open market (read: more than Carolina is willing to pay). He is certainly an intriguing case. A young QB whose lack of success can largely be attributed to shortcomings on both the offensive line and/or the fact he hasn't played under the same offensive system for more than a year as a starter. Last year, he showed more ability and grit than ever before, despite his poor relations with Jim Zorn. Regardless of all this, if the Panthers were to bring in Campbell, they would instantly have a QB controversy on their hands, the effects of which would be unknown until it happened. The fan base would certainly have some division based on how they feel about Matt Moore.
Put me firmly in the camp that says acquiring Marc Bulger is the right move for the Panthers. Whereas there are many unknowns in the Jason Campbell situation, there are very few unknowns with Bulger. The Panthers would not need to give up any picks, or give up any large sums of money. They know exactly what kind of QB Bulger is, and Bulger knows what his role would be. He fits the mold of what the Panthers have done so far this offseason, aside from the age requirement, and would cement their position that Matt Moore is "the guy" at QB. By bringing in Bulger, we can probably guarantee a mid-round selection of a QB in this years draft, or we may even be able to continue to develop Hunter Cantwell, depending on the faith the organization has in Matt Moore, and how much they think Bulger has left in the tank as far as an insurance policy.
Based on the information given above, and your own personal opinions, if you had to pick a QB from the two, who would you pick to wear the Black and Blue next season?