It’s no secret that the Panthers are struggling on offense right now. Just last Sunday, their offensive ineptitude was on full display in Chicago, where they were held to a measly three points by the Bears — who, in fairness, have a good defense — in one of the hardest Panthers games to watch since the 2010 season.
The Panthers are struggling on offense because they don’t have a deep threat at wide receiver. Defenses can crowd the box with eight (and sometimes nine) players because they know that Cam Newton doesn’t have a deep option capable of taking the top off the defense. Kelvin Benjamin and Devin Funchess are big targets for the Panthers’ quarterback and are useful when the chains need to be moved 11-15 yards, but neither one of them is designed for the ‘run the 9 route and let me throw it deep to you’ play the Panthers desperately need.
The Panthers tried to solve this problem in the 2017 NFL Draft when they used the No. 40 overall pick on Curtis Samuel, but unfortunate injuries have contributed to a delayed development process for the rookie. Of course, the coaching staff should have thought about this before the season started because it’s not exactly wise to put the pressure of being the lone deep threat of the offense on a rookie you drafted in the second round, even if they can stay healthy, but here we are.
The Panthers need to find someone to be that much-needed deep threat, and since Samuel hasn’t shown he can be the answer for 2017 the organization will need to find a better option. With the NFL trade deadline approaching next week, acquiring a talented receiver from another team would likely be their best approach.
But who should they acquire and at what cost? Well, I’m glad you asked.
The Carolina Panthers should trade a conditional fifth round pick to the Pittsburgh Steelers for wide receiver Martavis Bryant.
Bryant would immediately be the best wide receiver on the Panthers roster, and it’s really not even close. He’s already made it known that he wants to be traded to a team that will use him, and I’m sure the Steelers would be willing to grant his request. It’s possible they would want more than a conditional fifth rounder for Bryant, and if that’s the case then the Panthers should give them what they want (within reason) to ensure we can have Bryant’s services for the rest of the year. Personally, I would be willing to give up a third rounder for him. I think he has the tools necessary to provide exactly what the Panthers putrid offense needs - a deep threat to relieve some of the defensive pressure clogging the offensive line.
Bryant’s career stats show that he can be the deep threat the Panthers need.
Martavis Bryant Career Stats
*- Note: Bryant missed the 2016 season due to suspension.
Imagine having someone with Ted Ginn’s speed streaking down the sideline who can actually catch the ball when Newton throws it. Doesn’t that seem like something that would benefit the Panthers?
The Panthers have a problem with a simple solution. It’s time to stop making excuses for an offense that clearly isn’t working and it’s time to actually do something about it. The Panthers can make one trade that would vastly improve their offensive production in 2017 and beyond. All they have to do is make a phone call to Pittsburgh.
Of course, having ideas like this are the reason why I will never be the general manager of the Carolina Panthers.