The trade deadline has passed for this season, but there are no solutions this season for the Carolina Panthers. Looking ahead to next season, I think the most humane action the Panthers can take is to trade Derrick Brown to the 49ers for whatever they want to offer in return.
The 25-year-old defensive tackle still has years of quality football left in him. His stats line isn’t exactly anything to write home about, as is often the case for interior defensive linemen, but his effect on the field was highlighted yesterday by his athletic interception off Derek Carr. Brown is a force on the field who deserves better than the Panthers are capable of offering him.
The San Francisco 49ers are a professionally managed and coached club that is competitive in the National Football League. They also have experience rehabilitating former Panthers.
Former Panthers interim head coach Steve Wilks, who struggled early as the 49ers new DC, has his unit playing with the best in the league. They are second in the league in points allowed, fifth in yards, and second in turnovers forced.
Former Panthers running back Christian McCaffrey is on pace for his second, consecutive 1,000 yard season for the first time since 2019 as well as on pace to score more touchdowns (rushing and receiving) than he ever has before.
I’m not overly concerned about what return the Panthers will see in this deal. They have a fourth round pick next year from the 49ers remaining in their pockets from trading McCaffrey away. The other picks from that trade were No. 61 (part of the Bryce Young deal), No. 93, and No. 132 (both packaged to trade up to No. 80 for DJ Johnson) in the 2023 NFL Draft. Essentially, the Panthers shipped two of their best assets from last season west for no appreciable gain. Let’s not quibble over Brown’s value and worry more about wasting his career.
The 49ers are exactly the kind of team that Brown deserves to spend his career with. You know, one with a chance of success.