Will Panthers pursue Derek Carr? Coach Frank Reich says it’s an ‘interesting question’


Frank Reich held a press conference Tuesday, where the Panthers coach was asked if his team would consider making a run at Derek Carr. The Raiders’ all-time passing leader with 35,222 yards, Carr has already visited the Jets and Saints, though according to his brother and former Texans quarterback David (now of NFL Network), the 31-year-old won’t rush his decision, preferring to do his “due diligence” before settling on his next team.

Though not as accomplished as fellow free agent Lamar Jackson or disgruntled Packers vet Aaron Rodgers, one could easily envision Carr—if surrounded by the right supporting cast—returning Carolina to playoff glory, particularly in a division that just lost Tom Brady to his second and likely final retirement. Even with an interim coach and a talent corps gutted by the loss of Christian McCaffrey (by far the biggest domino to fall at this year’s trade deadline), the Panthers still showed promise, winning five of their final eight games despite meager contributions from quarterbacks Sam Darnold and P.J. Walker, both of whom are free agents.

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While Reich wouldn’t commit to pursuing Carr in free agency, he also didn’t dismiss the idea, calling it an “interesting question.” “We’re really literally sitting down with the guys today. First staff meeting will be tomorrow,” said Reich, who won out over fellow candidates Steve Wilks, Sean Payton, Mike Kafka, Shane Steichem, Kellen Moore, Ken Dorsey, Jim Caldwell and Ejiro Evero, with the latter two hired as senior assistant and defensive coordinator respectively. “But I’ve kind of met with guys individually saying, here’s what we’re doing. Step one, let’s evaluate our roster. So, we’re really just starting that process. So, step two, evaluate the free agents. Everybody got their list. Step three, now we’re going to the college guys.”

For years, billionaire owner David Tepper has wanted to make a splash at quarterback, and while that can be accomplished in the upcoming NFL Draft (Carolina holds the ninth overall pick), he may have his sights set on something bigger. A four-time Pro Bowler who ranks eighth among active players in career passing yards, Carr would certainly be an upgrade over what the Panthers had last season, held back by the underwhelming trio of Darnold, Walker and Baker Mayfield. The Panthers could be tempted to see what they have in third-round pick Matt Corral, though, as a holdover from the previous Matt Rhule regime, his future in Charlotte is anything but certain.

Carr, meanwhile, enjoyed a productive visit with the Jets this past weekend, though his insistence at letting the process play out would suggest he hasn’t gotten an offer to his liking yet.

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Featured Image Photo Credit: Grant Halverson, Getty Images