The Carolina Panthers started the 2023 offseason with tons of hope and promise. They had traded for the top pick in the draft and got the quarterback “they” wanted. Despite all of that, the sky started falling, and things only got worse from there.
This couldn’t be a worse situation for the fantasy and dynasty players to gauge value.
The Panthers roster could not be further from competing or being offensively competent. The coaching staff is now facing a third overhaul in as many years. On top of it all, their general manager and owner have shown they can’t build a roster or training facility.
This is bad. They are one of the worst teams in the NFL at several positions. As the Panthers fix their dynasty, it is important to get ahead of the game and protect yours. This piece will discuss the best head coaching fits, key roster decisions regarding their fantasy value, and a mock draft to round things out.
Carolina Panthers Coaching Candidates
Brian Callahan, Cincinnati Bengals Offensive Coordinator
The Bengals have become one of the best offenses in the NFL under Zac Taylor. The former Sean McVay assistant has carved his own path, including making a Super Bowl run. While Taylor is the one with the coaching record, it has been Brian Callahan who has silently waited to emerge from the shadows. The former UCLA walk-on has fought for everything he has achieved in his career, including a Super Bowl win on a Denver Broncos staff. While he may not win one in Cincinnati, he very well could be a part of a new, invigorated offense for the Carolina Panthers.
Brian Johnson, Philadelphia Eagles Offensive Coordinator
The former NCAA Football 10 cover athlete has gone from video games and football in the Pac-12 to now being an under-the-radar head coaching candidate. He has continued right where Shane Steichen left off before departing for the Colts head coaching job. Jalen Hurts, A.J. Brown, and Devonta Smith are all fantasy juggernauts, and the offense is firing on all cylinders week in and week out. He could be seen as an unconventional, unproven hire, but owner David Tepper could make it. He has shown that he has no problem making a bet on an up-and-comer, in stocks at least.
Jerod Mayo, New England Patriots Linebackers Coach
While it won’t be the flashiest fantasy hire, it could be the best long-term one. Mayo is a former Pro Bowl linebacker and has been a top assistant for Bill Belichick in New England since his playing days ended. Someone with stern principles and proven leadership is exactly what Bryce Young needs in his development. Mayo could have his pick of the litter for play callers, so why not have him handle the leadership and bring on another offensive mastermind?
Panthers to Buy, Sell, and Hold
Sell: Adam Thielen, WR
Thielen has been a pleasant surprise this year for the Panthers in a season that hasn’t seen much positive. He has an astounding 77 receptions on 100 targets, with 728 receiving yards and four touchdowns. Those numbers could be enough for a league contender to offer you some draft picks to put them over the edge with a strong WR3 option or bench depth.
Buy: No One
This team is…something. The running back situation will be flipped like a table in a Western movie, the wide receivers are not panning out, and the top tight end is a former baseball player. There is no one here I would buy from a fantasy perspective as things currently stand. We can circle back to this after the first round of free agency, but don’t hold your breath with this Carolina Panthers team.
Hold: Bryce Young, QB
Don’t abandon ship just yet on the former Heisman Trophy winner. Bryce Young was drafted number one overall for a reason, and with that luxury comes being placed on a bad roster. This team wasn’t going to compete with him, but it might compete in year two or three with the right moves and hires. Hold onto Young while all that sorts out, or at the very least for the first big week he has with a new staff.
Carolina Panthers Mock Draft
This Carolina Panthers draft won’t be this offensive-minded, but for the sake of the piece, here we are. Looking at the skill position needs of this roster, they need a receiver who could make plays on day one while also developing into something more. Troy Franklin could be gone in the first, but he may fall to day two; if he does, the Panthers need to grab him immediately.
Blake Corum would be a lead back for this team on day one, and they can also still use Chuba Hubbard. Corum has worked in a split backfield before but has shown he can handle most of the workload. He could’ve declared for the draft last year and been a first-round pick. While he may not be as rich, he is still that good. Allowing him to work and take pressure off Young is a must.
The rest of the picks center around giving this offensive line some much-needed depth and starters. Sedrick Van Pran is a day-one starter on an offensive line desperate for some juice. Ben Sinnott could make plays at tight end while also providing help blocking along the edge. Last, but not least, sprinkle in some track speed with a wide receiver/running back hybrid like Ainias Smith.