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Panthers Coach Ron Rivera Closes the Door on Bringing Back QB Derek Anderson

Panthers head coach Ron Rivera seemed to close the door Tuesday on the prospect of re-signing veteran free agent quarterback Derek Anderson according to Joe Person of the Charlotte Observer.

Anderson has been the backup in Carolina for the last seven seasons, and general manager Marty Hurney said the team talked to him earlier this offseason about returning to that role. Rivera says, however, that he expects Cam Newton’s backup to come from the group of quarterbacks currently on the roster.

Garrett Gilbert, originally a sixth-round pick out of SMU by the Los Angeles Rams, is currently the favorite to win the backup job but it should be noted that neither Gilbert nor any of the other QBs on the Panthers roster other than Newton have ever thrown a regular season pass in the NFL.

Anderson, a 12-year NFL veteran, turns 35 years old on June 15. He has thus far garnered no other interest on the free agent market.

Panthers Captains and Leaders Meet with New Owner Over New Anthem Policy

Panthers team captains and leaders met with new owner David Tepper on Wednesday in Charlotte, a team source told the Jourdan Rodrigue and Joseph Person of the Charlotte Observer.

The source spoke on condition of anonymity because the meeting was private.

Among the topics addressed was a policy the NFL announced Wednesday stating that teams can be fined by the league if players don’t stand up on the field during the national anthem before games. The policy states that players may remain in the locker room during the anthem if they choose.

The policy drew national criticism and was condemned by the NFL Players Association, whose governing members said neither they nor other players were consulted prior to the announcement by the league.

No Panthers players knelt during the national anthem last season. Veteran defensive end Julius Peppers elected to remain inside the locker room during the anthem in September, a few days after Trump’s comments.

Tepper was approved as Carolina’s new owner unanimously by other owners on Tuesday, a week after the Observer reported his $2.275 billion acquisition of the Panthers ($2.2 billion in cash).

Tepper can’t vote on NFL policy until July when the sale closes and he officially assumes control of the team.

He has previously been outspoken against Trump, but details of his conversation with Panthers players have not been disclosed.

Hedge Fund Manager David Tepper the Front Runner to Buy the Panthers

Signs are pointing to hedge fund manager David Tepper as the winning bidder to buy the Panthers, sources told the Charlotte Observer on Friday.

CBS and ESPN separately reported on Friday that Tepper is the leading candidate, and that the announcement could come as early as next week. A source also told the Observer that an announcement could be made next week.

Tepper, 60, is the richest of the known bidders who sought to buy the Panthers, with a net worth of $11 billion, according to Forbes. He’s also the only one already vetted by the NFL, as a part-owner of his hometown team, the Pittsburgh Steelers.

One of the sources told the Observer that Tepper’s bid was helped because he had the least complex finances and didn’t have a need for minority partners. The source also cautioned that a deal did not appear to be finalized.

Tepper could not be reached for comment Friday.

He visited Charlotte once in early April, and was in town again Wednesday meeting with team officials, E

SPN reported.

Panthers DB Coach Curtis Fuller Resigns – Rivera Says “It’s a Complicated Situation”

Panthers defensive backs coach Curtis Fuller resigned Wednesday, general manager Marty Hurney confirmed to Jourdan Rodrigue and Joseph Person of the Charlotte Observer.

Hurney declined to comment on the nature of the situation, including the reason for resignation.

Responding to a question at Quail Hollow Club, head coach Ron Rivera said “it’s a complicated situation.”

Multiple requests for comment from team spokesman Steven Drummond were not answered.

Fuller, 39, had been an assistant coach with the Panthers since 2013. He served as the assistant defensive backs/nickels coach in 2016, assistant special teams/nickels coach in 2015, defensive assistant/defensive backs coach in 2014 and coaching assistant in 2013.

Could Cameron Artis-Payne Find His Way in the Panthers Starting Backfield in 2018?

Cameron Artis-Payne will reportedly get a “real shot” to replace Jonathan Stewart in the Panthers’ run game according to Max Henson of Panthers.com.

One of the most confounding non-moves of the draft was the Panthers failure to pick up a running back after releasing their long-time starter Stewart. That leaves the 27-year-old Artis-Payne as basically the only option to be the “big back” complement to 2017 No.8-overall pick Christian McCaffrey.

A fifth-round draft pick out of Auburn in 2015, the Panthers seem to tout Artis-Payne’s potential every season and pundits predict a bigger role for him but that potential never materializes. He has 99 career carries in three seasons, has very little role in the passing games, and held his own but did not flash star potential in three spot starts in 2016.

The Panthers will likely add a veteran to the mix before training camp but, for now, they seem to be betting on a McCaffrey/Artis-Payne backfield for 2018.

Panthers Earn an ‘A-‘ for Their Draft According to ESPN’s Mel Kiper Jr.

The draft grades from ‘Draft Guru’ Mel Kiper Jr. are out, and one team that got a very good grade is that of the Panthers, who according to Kiper got an ‘A-‘ for their collection of players over the two days.

Here’s what he had to say:

Like their NFC South rivals in Atlanta, the Panthers went with a wide receiver in Round 1, taking Maryland’s D.J. Moore at No. 24. I’m a big fan of Moore, who is more than a workout warrior, though he put up freakish numbers at the combine with a 4.42 40 time and 39.5-inch vertical. He was productive for the Terps, and he’s great after the catch. He runs through arm tackles, and he’s built like a tailback. The Panthers needed a guy like that for Cam Newton, and it wasn’t going to be veteran Torrey Smith (another Terp), who was brought in last month. Moore could be Newton’s favorite target in a hurry.

After parting ways with Daryl Worley, the Panthers needed cornerbacks to compete for the spot opposite James Bradberry. They added two on Day 2 with Donte Jackson (pick 55), one of the fastest players in this class (4.32 40), and Rashaan Gaulden (85), whom I had rated as more of a sixth-round talent. (Remember that veteran safety Kurt Coleman is no longer with the team.) Jackson is only 5-10 and 178 pounds, but he’s an elite athlete. Ian Thomas could develop into the heir apparent to Greg Olsen, and to get my fourth-ranked tight end at 104 is great value. Marquis Haynes (136) is another good player on Day 3.

If there’s an issue with this class, it’s not getting a pass-rusher. Are they really going to rely on 38-year-old Julius Peppers to play almost 500 snaps again? Mario Addison is also going to be 31 by Week 1, and you face Matt Ryan, Drew Brees and Jameis Winston six times a year in that division. I liked the depth of this class, though, and won’t ding it too much. There is value from top to bottom.

Round/Pick Name Pos College
1/24 D.J. Moore WR MARYLAND
2/55 Donte Jackson CB LSU
3/85 Rashaan Gaulden CB TENNESSEE
4/101 Ian Thomas TE INDIANA
4/136 Marquis Haynes OLB OLE MISS
5/161 Jermaine Carter Jr. CB MARYLAND
7/234 Andre Smith ILB NORTH CAROLINA
7/242 Kendrick Norton DT MIAMI

Panthers Ink Veteran TE Greg Olsen to Two-Year Extension

The Panthers have signed veteran tight end Greg Olsen to a two-year, $17.1 million extension through 2020 according to Adam Schefter of ESPN.

The deal reportedly can be worth $20.1 million with incentives. and could potential make him the league’s highest-paid tight end. Olsen was scheduled to be a free agent after this year and was even linked with some TV jobs, but now he is under contract through his age-35 season.

2017 was a down year for Olsen as he was limited to seven games due to a foot injury and never looked healthy upon his return. He claims to be fully recovered this offseason, however, and will remain one of Cam Newton’s favorite passing options in 2018 and beyond.

Panthers Have Chatted About Bringing Back Backup QB Derek Anderson

Panthers general manager Marty Hurney says the team has talked with veteran backup quarterback Derek Anderson about re-signing with the team according to Joe Person of the Charlotte Observer.

The 34-year-old Anderson is one of the most dependable backups in the league and would undoubtedly be in demand if he did not stay in Carolina. He has served as the security blanket behind starter Cam Newton. Even if the team drafts a developmental prospect this weekend, they would be wise to keep Anderson and it would not be surprising if the team announced a contract extension after the draft.

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