The Carolina Panthers are beginning an organizational restructure this offseason under new head coach Matt Rhule. While the organization has explored moving up to the No. 1 pick, many around the NFL now believe the Panthers are planning to tank for Clemson Tigers quarterback Trevor Lawrence.
The Panthers are widely expected by opposing teams to rebuild in 2020 in an attempt to land the No. 1 overall pick in the 2020 NFL Draft, per Bleacher Report’s Matt Miller.
Carolina recently agreed to trade Pro Bowl guard Trai Turner for left tackle Russell Okung. Furthermore, the team is still open to trading Cam Newton and could reportedly consider moving All-Pro running back Christian McCaffrey.
Panthers owner David Tepper invested in this team’s long-term future by giving Rhule a seven-year, $60 million contract to leave Baylor for the NFL. Given Rhule’s background in building programs, the organization is likely to take the same approach here.
The front office is already reportedly looking into the 2021 NFL Draft class and is particularly interested in Lawrence and Ohio State quarterback Justin Fields. It’s exactly the plan we outlined for Carolina’s front office before the offseason began and now they might follow it.
The Panthers could follow the blueprint we saw from the Miami Dolphins this past year, trading impact talent to acquire draft capital. In the latest mock draft, Carolina selected a top offensive tackle to build its foundation on the offensive line. It could be the start of the team’s efforts to strengthen its core for the future. From there, the Panthers can make a push for Lawrence in 2021 and build a strong supporting cast around him.