CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) — Bryce Young and the Carolina Panthers have their first victory of the season.
But that isn’t expected to deter general manager Scott Fitterer from exploring potential trades before Tuesday’s deadline. That’s not anything particularly new for Fitterer, who prides himself on “being in on every deal.”
Being 1-6 approaching the midway point of the season certainly puts the Panthers in the position of being sellers, giving their desire to restock their draft shelves after giving up four picks to the Chicago Bears last year to move up to No. 1 to select Young.
That trade left the Panthers without a 2024 first-round pick and a 2025 second-round pick. Carolina still has its own second-, third- and fourth round picks next year, along with picks in the fourth, fifth and sixth rounds from other teams.
Panthers coach Frank Reich said Monday he planned to meet with Fitterer to discuss any trades that might be in the works.
“I've learned in these situations to trust the GM,” Reich said. “He will pull me in when needed and we will have conversations to see if anything has come up in the last 24 hours that's worth talking about. Sometimes it does, and sometimes things fizzle out.”
The player that would net the biggest haul if moved is two-time Pro Bowl defensive end Brian Burns, although there's no indication the team plans to deal its best defensive player without getting quite a lot in return. The team reportedly turned down an offer that included two first-round picks from the Los Angeles Rams in the offseason.
Burns, who's in the final year of his contract, said Monday he hasn't spoken to the front office, and reiterated his wish is to remain with Carolina.
“My focus is winning here,” Burns said. “I don't like to look on the other side because the grass isn't always greener on the other side. I like to focus where I'm at and be where my feet are.”
Running back Miles Sanders and tight end Hayden Hurst have underachieved since signing with Carolina as free agents, although their contracts might made them difficult to trade.
Veteran cornerback Donte Jackson could draw some interest.
Safety Jeremy Chinn was a potential trade target before being placed on injured reserve last week with a quadriceps injury.
Receiver Terrace Marshall, a second-round pick in 2021, asked for and received permission from the Panthers to look into a trade. However, it's unlikely Marshall would net more than late-round pick in return.
Offensive coordinator Thomas Brown had a nice debut as the team's play-caller in Sunday's 15-13 win over Houston. Carolina executed a a 15-play, 86-yard drive to set up Eddy Pineiro's game-winning 23-yard field goal as time expired.
“Thomas called a great game,” Reich said. “It was his game. It was his game and I resisted any temptation to get involved. We talked on the sideline a couple times about a few things, but I thought he did a fantastic job.”
WHAT NEEDS HELP
The run defense continues to struggle, having allowed eight rushing touchdowns in the last three games. Carolina has surrendered 14 touchdowns on the ground this season, trailing only the Colts, who've allowed 15. Indianapolis' rushing tandem of Jonathan Taylor and Zach Moss will provide some formidable competition for Carolina's front seven.
WR Adam Thielen continues to have a tremendous season for the Panthers, with 57 catches for 581 yards and four TDs. Thielen had a 3-yard reception in traffic on fourth-and-2 during Sunday's winning drive.
Sanders continues to be an afterthought in the offense, gaining no yards on two carries Sunday. He has 139 yards through seven games and has been replaced in the starting lineup by Chuba Hubbard. That's not what Carolina expected after signing him to a four-year, $25.4 million contract in the offseason.
OLB Justin Houston was the latest Panthers defender to go down with a hamstring injury on Sunday. The pass-rush specialist has not been much of a factor with just a half-sack and nine tackles. Houston has 112 career sacks.
56 — The streak of Panthers losses in which they trailed at any point in the fourth quarter, which was snapped by Sunday's rally. Prior to that, Carolina’s last fourth-quarter comeback win came on Oct. 21, 2018 against Philadelphia.
Reich faces the Colts, the team he coached from 2018-22.
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Steve Reed, The Associated Press