Christian McCaffrey trade doesn’t mean Panthers are tanking: Scott Fitterer

Christian McCaffrey trade doesn’t mean Panthers are tanking: Scott Fitterer

The Panthers aren’t tanking. A minimum of, that’s what common supervisor Scott Fitterer is saying.

Hours after his staff traded star working again Christian McCaffrey to the 49ers, the GM mentioned it didn’t mark the start of a teardown with the purpose of the No. 1 decide within the 2023 NFL Draft.

“We needed to determine what’s greatest for the group,” Fitterer mentioned on Friday. “Our focus continues to be going out and competing each weekend. We count on to win.”

It’s been a season stuffed with strikes for the Panthers, who acquired quarterback Baker Mayfield forward of coaching camp, solely to see him shortly wrestle because the starter earlier than being sidelined by harm. The staff additionally fired coach Matt Rhule after a 1-4 begin.

Issues in Carolina received even weirder this week when receiver Robby Anderson was kicked out of Week 6’s loss to the Rams by interim coach Steve Wilks, solely to be traded to Arizona.

Information of the blockbuster McCaffrey commerce — which netted the Panthers San Francisco’s second, third and fouth-round picks in 2023 and a fifth-rounder in 2024 — opens up quite a lot of prospects for Carolina, together with buying and selling as much as the highest choice.

The Panthers traded Christian McCaffrey to the 49ers of their second commerce of the week.USA TODAY Sports activities

The swap additionally cleared the Panthers of McCaffrey’s 2023 and 2024 wage cap hits of roughly $19.5 million and $14.5 million for 2025.

Wilks agreed together with his boss’ anti-tanking notion.

“There’s no such factor as tanking relating to myself or the boys in that locker room,” he mentioned.

Panthers GM Scott Fitterer was adamant his staff isn’t seeking to unload younger expertise.Panthers

Fitterer hinted at the potential for one other deal earlier than the Nov. 1 commerce deadline however added that it will take an “astronomical” deal to get one thing performed.

Regardless of that, the GM has now restocked his draft picks after having solely 4 picks in 2023 and 5 in 2024. Along with the picks acquired within the McCaffrey deal, the commerce of Anderson introduced within the Cardinals’ 2024 sixth-round and 2025 seventh-round picks.

“It supplies quite a lot of choices with that quantity of picks,” mentioned Fitterer, who, if the season ended in the present day, would have the highest decide. “If we don’t have to maneuver up, it provides quite a lot of pictures on gamers.”

One shot the Panthers could wish to goal in 2023 is a quarterback. Neither Mayfield nor Sam Darnold look like long-term choices and are at present each injured, whereas 2022 second-round decide Matt Corral suffered a season-ending foot harm through the preseason.

The Panthers will host division rival Tampa Bay on Sunday, seeking to get Wilks his first win as head coach.

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