Carolina Panthers: Five free-agent quarterbacks the team could target

Cam Newton of the Carolina Panthers (Photo by Jacob Kupferman/Getty Images)
Cam Newton of the Carolina Panthers (Photo by Jacob Kupferman/Getty Images) /
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Tom Brady of the New England Patriots
Tom Brady of the New England Patriots (Photo by Adam Glanzman/Getty Images) /

Tom Brady

A free agent for the first time in his illustrious career, Tom Brady is officially on the open market after Saturday night’s playoff loss to the Titans. Many experts, including ESPN’s Adam Schefter, believe that Brady’s time in New England may be up. If that’s the case and the Panthers do move on from Newton, they would be foolish to not at least check in on the three-time MVP and six-time Super Bowl champ.

At 42 years old, Brady showed signs of slowing down in 2019, yet for the 11th-straight year, he led the Patriots to the playoffs. If he were to play for the Panthers next season, he may not be asked to carry the same load that the Patriots have asked of him over the past two decades. McCaffrey emerged as the best all-purpose running back in the league this season, and even though Brady had a “down” year, he still took extreme care of the football. His current offensive coordinator, Josh McDaniels, is supposedly a leading candidate for the head-coaching job in Carolina, so it wouldn’t be entirely shocking to see him follow McDaniels to Charlotte.

If he does end up with the Panthers, there’s a real chance Brady could continue his success. Similar to most of his time in New England, Carolina’s receiving corps is currently made up of fairly small, yard-after-catch type receivers who can line up all over the field. In fact, perhaps his best season, statistically speaking, came in 2011 when the Patriots lacked a big target on the outside. Where Brady did have his big target, though, was at tight end; however, Greg Olsen’s future remains uncertain at this point, while Ian Thomas has shown plenty of promise during his absence.

Ultimately, Carolina’s only chance at signing Brady is if McDaniels becomes the team’s next head coach. It wouldn’t make sense for the Panthers to put him into a new system for his age 43 season, nor would it make sense for Brady to join them without any prior connections. Of anyone on this list, he’s undoubtedly the biggest longshot, although he’d certainly be worth the consideration.