First things first: Generalissimo Francisco Franco is still dead, and Brandon LaFell still isn't developing like Muhsin Muhammed. With Steve Smith slowing down and Olsen having fewer balls thrown his way (from being targeted 8 times per game the first 3 games to 4 per game since ... I speculate that his injured foot is the reason) and the emphasis on a ball-control/move the sticks/avoid turnovers passing game, you would think that LaFell would have been the primary beneficiary. Instead, he is on pace for 635 receiving yards, actually less than last season.
Moving on: Fred Davis. He is disgruntled because the Redskins won't play him, which is legitimate. The Redskins won't play Davis because Davis has let the team down time and time again with off-the-field trouble, injuries (probably brought on by questionable conditioning) and so forth. In 2012, he was their franchise player, got big money, and got hurt (again). This year, he tried to leave the Redskins for big money in free agency, but was shocked, SHOCKED to discover that the market for an oft-injured TE who doesn't block and has leadership/maturity/work ethic/off-the-field issues, so they brought him back for $1 million.
Davis has been on his best behavior this season but it is too late for him with the Redskins: his mercurial behavior forced them to burn a 3rd round pick that could have been used on their bad OL or worse defense, and the player that they selected - TE Jordan Reed - is more athletic, faster, and overall better than Davis despite being a rookie who missed most of the offseason due to injury. When Reed was selected most Redskins fans were hoping that Davis and Reed would be used to create matchup problems in 2 TE sets. Unfortunately, A) they are both pretty much the same player (inline receiving TEs who can't block) and B) Shanahan and company are simply ready to move on. Shanahan has basically stated that Davis is insurance in case Reed gets hurt.
So since Reed obviously won't help the Redskins this year - whose disappointing season is pretty much going to be over after Denver hammers them on Sunday - and will be released after this season, why not try to get something for him? The Panthers could at least ask. They could offer - for example - the pick that they got back from the Beason trade!
Why bother, you may ask? Because when healthy and motivated - and Davis is currently both - he is a pretty good TE. In 2009, he had 500 receiving yards and 6 TDs. In 2010, he experienced a dropoff due to QB issues, but in 2011, he had 59 receptions for 796 yards and 3 TDs before his 3 year nightmare of (oft self-inflicted) issues with injury and off-the-field problems started. And right now, the Panthers have nothing behind Greg Olsen at TE, currently slowed with a foot injury. More to the point, as far as pass catchers go in general, the Panthers have nothing beyond Steve Smith, Olsen, Ted Ginn, Jr. and LaFell. That is it. 4 guys. The Panthers need more, to give Olsen time to heal from his foot injury and as another target (perhaps even with Olsen on the field, as Olsen is a more traditional TE and could actually make the 2 TE thing work) in general, and that is needed if the Panthers are going to be able to score enough points on offense to make a real playoff push.
And another thing: it would be cheap. Davis only has a 1 year $1 million deal. So the Panthers would be renting him for 8 games and half a million bucks. After the year is up, Davis would be free to get whatever he can on the open market. Or, even to re-up with Carolina if he impresses the coaches and front office with his improved behavior (presuming he maintains it).
The Panthers have already acquired Tavarres King and Marvin McNutt, who are basically bottom of the roster/practice squad types at this point in their careers (and who may not ever be any more than that). So why not make a move for a guy who has several years of starting in the NFL under his belt and is still only 27 years old?
It is something to think about, after all. It beats pretending that the Panthers are good enough at WR and TE as it is. They aren't, and as soon as they start playing some of the better teams on their schedule (2 games against the Falcons, 2 games against the Saints, games against the 49ers, Patriots, Jets and Dolphins ... 8 of the 9 remaining games are against teams that are better than anyone the Panthers have beaten thus far) that will quickly become apparent.
The Panthers are finally over .500, but they need another move on offense to stay there, and this is a low cost, low risk move to get them there.