Panthers did not appeal to QB Matthew Stafford prior to trade

  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
·1 min read
In this article:
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.

Owner David Tepper and the Carolina Panthers failed in their dogged pursuit of former Detroit Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford earlier this year. But, to their credit, it wasn’t for a lack of trying.

ESPN senior writer Seth Wickersham was featured on Wednesday’s installment of the ESPN Daily podcast, hosted by Pablo Torre. The episode centered on Wickersham’s cover story of Stafford’s move to the Los Angeles Rams, and also hit on why the 33-year-old did not wind up in Carolina.

“The Carolina Panthers actually offered the best deal, but he didn’t want to go there,” Wickersham said. “And he didn’t have a no-trade clause in his contract. If the Lions wanted to send him to Carolina, they could have.”

After a season partly held back by poor quarterback play, the Panthers set their sights on acquiring a proven difference maker at the position this offseason. They had reportedly offered the Lions their 2021 first-round pick (eighth overall), a fifth-round pick and quarterback Teddy Bridgewater.

Despite the enticing offer, Stafford sought to be traded to a contending team. Wickersham added that his list of preferred destinations was headed by the Rams, followed by the San Francisco 49ers and then the Indianapolis Colts.

Don’t be too offended, Panthers fans. Stafford, as much as it may hurt to admit, wasn’t wrong in his outlook.

Would he have made Carolina a contender? Perhaps. He very well could have propelled them from a rebuilding, mediocre squad to a legitimate playoff hopeful.

But could the Panthers have given him a better chance at a Super Bowl run than Los Angeles, San Francisco or Indianapolis? As of now, in 2021, no.