The Carolina Panthers are breaking in a new quarterback once again this season. After nine straight seasons of Cam Newton as the starter, Teddy Bridgewater stepped in and filled the role in 2020. But despite signing three-year, $60 million deal, he lasted only one season before being shipped off to Denver.
Now Sam Darnold will get an opportunity to become the long-term replacement for Newton. The 24-year-old former top-5 pick is still oozing with potential, but that potential hasn’t translated to NFL success — or at least not with the Jets.
If Darnold is going to succeed, he’s going to need more consistent protection than he got in New York. The Panthers don’t have the best offensive line either, but there’s been at least one fixture over the last few years: Taylor Moton.
A second-round pick out of Western Michigan back in 2017, Moton has displayed versatility and effectiveness in Carolina. He can play tackle or guard, but has settled in as one of the better right tackles in football. He got the franchise tag earlier in the offseason, but the team is hoping to get him signed to a long-term deal before the July 15 deadline.
One recent event that could impact negotiations would be the Saints signing their starting right tackle, Ryan Ramczyk, to a five-year, $96 million extension on Wednesday. That now makes him the highest paid right tackle in the NFL.
Panthers want to get a long-term deal done with Taylor Moton before the July 15 deadline, per sources. Have to think Ramczyk deal added a new layer to the talks.
— Joe Person (@josephperson) June 30, 2021
The Panthers don’t currently have a ton invested in their offensive line — at least not from a dollar figure standpoint. The contracts of Matt Paradis, Cameron Erving, Pat Elfein and John Miller are all extremely manageable. Meanwhile, other guys such as Greg Little, Dennis Daley, David Moore and Deonte Brown are all playing on rookie contracts.
None of those players come close to providing the same impact as Moton. Pay the man, Scott Fitterer. For Darnold’s sake.
Follow Clint Lamb on Twitter @ClintRLamb.