The Antonio Brown saga seems to have gone on forever, and I honestly have lost a lot of interest in the whole situation. It’s a very unfortunate situation for all sides involved. The Buffalo Bills seemed to finally answer the question of where Brown would play late last night; however, that idea quickly went by the wayside. Brown has had numerous complaints about quarterback Ben Roethlisberger and other important figures in the Pittsburgh Steelers organization. With a breakup potential looming, Brown would be leaving the only home he knows. The black and gold of the Steelers have definitely been a great fit for Brown as he has 11,207 receiving yards and 74 touchdowns in 130 career games. If Brown does find a new team, I offer one possible solution: the Carolina Panthers.
The Carolina Panthers are a very interesting team for multiple different reasons. The Panthers finished 7-9 last season. They looked like a lock for at least a wildcard playoff berth after starting the season 6-2, but they ended the season going 1-7 and ended up 3rd in the NFC South. It really was a season of two halves for the Panthers. Quarterback Cam Newton was dealing with injuries, so that was a good part of their struggles, but the team honestly just extremely underperformed down the stretch. So, what would entice Brown to come to an under developing Panthers team?
Like I mentioned, the Panthers weren’t an abysmal team all season; in fact, they were extremely dominant in the early stretch. The Panthers ranked 10th in offense last season, and it’s astounding considering their top receiver was their running back, Christian McCaffrey. McCaffrey lead the Panthers with 867 receiving yards, followed by D.J Moore with 788 receiving yards. The Panthers could really benefit from a top talent #1 receiver. Brown would be a big-name weapon for Newton, who hasn’t had a deep threat in a while. Brown would also spread the field for tight end Greg Olsen, who is returning from injury, and would take the load off McCaffrey. Despite how well McCaffrey did last season, I think he can be even better when he isn’t forced to carry the entire offense on his shoulders.
Not only do the Panthers have a good offense, they have solid defensive pieces. The Panthers were ranked in the middle of the pack, 15th, in defense last season. Anchored by Luke Kuechley, the Panthers have other good assets to work with such as Eric Reid. If Brown does leave, he would most likely prefer a team that offers a good chance to make the playoffs. The Panthers offer a good blend of both offense and defense to tantalize Brown.
The Panthers currently sit on $16,870,067 dollars in cap room. I think it will depend on what kind of money Brown wants, but I can see it being a good fit. Provided Newton is healthy, the Panthers have the quarterback, running back, and tight end Brown could fit in with on offense. The Panthers also have a good defense that would be much better than a team like the Raiders. The Panthers also have a very good chance to make the playoffs. I think the Saints will drop off from last season, the Falcons will definitely not win both games against the Panthers again, and the Buccaneers are not a threat. The Panthers have a shot at a wild card spot, especially since the Eagles will knock the Cowboys down, and the 49ers will help limit the Seattle Seahawks with Jimmy Garoppolo back from injury.
The Panthers just scream good fit for so many reasons. They have a solid offense, rebuilding defense, and Brown would have an immediate chance to make a playoff push. I don’t know if there is another team that has all those elements together at this point in time. There are reports that the number of teams interested in Brown has dropped, but we shall see. I think it’s a homerun move, but with the length of the situation already, it wouldn’t surprise me in the slightest to see this go on for even longer.