Panthers GM Scott Fitterer: Andy Dalton is the ‘starter right now heading into the season’
The Carolina Panthers didn’t mortgage their future to delay their present. Nonetheless, we’re getting the ol’ dues-paying schtick.
In an interview during Friday’s installment of PFT PM, general manager Scott Fitterer told Pro Football Talk’s Mike Florio that the team doesn’t have a solidified idea on when No. 1 overall pick Bryce Young will take the reins under center.
“We’re going to rely on our coaches — Jim Caldwell, Frank Reich, Thomas Brown — to decide when it’s right,” he said. “We don’t have a timeline. We’re not saying, ‘Hey, this guy’s gonna start the first game or we’re not going to play him at all this year.’ When the time is right or we felt like he’s got enough of a mastery of the offense where he can go out and operate this and be successful, that’s when he’ll be out there.”
To get who they hope to be their franchise quarterback, the Panthers shipped off quite a package to the Chicago Bears—one that included two first-round picks, two second-round picks and star wideout DJ Moore. Fitterer’s “When the time is right” talk also comes off a bit frail considering Young is, by far, the most pro-ready passing prospect from the 2023 class.
Plus, Carolina played the same song and dance with last year’s first-rounder Ikem Ekwonu as well. Despite him being the obvious favorite to start at left tackle for Week 1, the Panthers made the 2022 sixth overall pick “earn it” over the summer.
But if Young isn’t ready (he will be), Fitterer said Andy Dalton—who was signed to a two-year, $10 million deal this offseason—will kick off the campaign.
“We went out and signed Andy Dalton for a reason. He played as a rookie. He’s got a lot of experience. He understands his role and he can play good football. If Andy’s the guy to start the season, and he’s the starter right now heading into the season, then he’ll be the guy. When Bryce is ready or Matt Corral is ready whoever it may be, that’ll be the time they go in. We say it’s open competition, but Frank did say, ‘Hey, Andy’s he’s our guy right now. He’ll walk into the season as the starter and then as you know, the young guys compete underneath him, then they’ll go in when they’re ready.”
Suuuuure . . .
Photos of 2023's 1st overall pick Bryce Young
Panthers LT Ikem Ekwonu: Linemen are 100 percent behind pick of Bryce Young
Panthers QB Andy Dalton: 'There's a lot that I can bring' to No. 1 pick