Eli Apple’s free agency deal with the Las Vegas Raiders fell through, and the Carolina Panthers are the beneficiaries.
The Panthers announced on Thursday that they have agreed to terms with Apple.
Apple originally agreed to terms on a one-year, $6 million deal with the Raiders on March 18. We learned in April that the deal fell through, which made Apple a free agent.
A former first-round pick by the Giants, Apple was traded to New Orleans in 2018. He played 10 games for them that season and 15 last season. The 24-year-old cornerback had 58 tackles last year for New Orleans and would provide a nice upgrade in the secondary for Carolina.
One of the NFL Draft’s more intriguing subplots may land two teams in hot water thanks in part to a public admission from Sean Payton that probably should have stayed private.
The New Orleans Saints traded back into the 7th round to select former Mississippi State quarterback Tommy Stevens, whom the team was enamored with as a possible Taysom Hill-type hybrid. According to Jeff Duncan of The Athletic, the Saints wanted to sign Stevens as an undrafted free agent, but he had already given a commitment to the Carolina Panthers. That prompted the Saints to nab a pick in the final round to draft him.
“(The Panthers) felt like they had him signed, sealed and delivered,” Saints assistant GM Jeff Ireland said on the team’s podcast last week. “(The) agent wasn’t really talking to us, so we just decided we’d just go take him from them.”
So what’s the problem? NFL rules allow teams to converse with players who may not be drafted, but they are barred from discussing possible financial terms with them. That prompted the Panthers to publicly deny that they’d had any deal in place with Stevens during the draft in a text to ProFootballTalk’s Mike Florio.
One NFL source told Florio that they expect both the Saints and Panthers to receive some sort of punishment for breaking that rule in light of the Saints’ public outing of Carolina.
That would be a pretty bad own goal from Payton and the Saints if their comments do lead to punishment, even if it isn’t severe. While it is a great story, it’s probably one that they’d have been better off keeping to themselves.
The Carolina Panthers have supposedly made just about every player on their roster available for trade this offseason, but they proved this week just how much they value star running back Christian McCaffrey.
McCaffrey has agreed to a four-year extension with the Panthers that will pay him around $16 million per year, ESPN’s Adam Schefter first reported. The deal will make McCaffrey the highest-paid running back in NFL history.
Carolina’s Christian McCaffrey is signing a four-year extension, averaging $16 million per year, making him the highest-paid running back in NFL history, sources tell ESPN.
— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) April 13, 2020
McCaffrey issued a statement confirming the new agreement.
Christian McCaffrey: “I’m so excited to continue my career in Carolina. I want to thank Mr. Tepper, Marty Hurney, and Coach Rhule for the opportunity to help lead this great franchise, and to all my teammates for their help along the way. And to Panthers fans, KEEP POUNDING!”
— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) April 13, 2020
Ezekiel Elliott was previously the highest-paid running back in football after he signed a contract worth $15 million per year with the Dallas Cowboys last offseason.
While $16 million per year may sound like a lot for a running back, McCaffrey is basically a running back and a wide receiver. He had 2,392 total yards of offense and 19 touchdowns in 2019. His 116 receptions were a record for an NFL running back, surpassing the previous mark of 107 that he set in 2018.
There are a lot of question marks surrounding the Panthers under new head coach Matt Rhule, but McCaffrey’s ability to change the game cannot be overstated.
The Atlanta Falcons were the latest NFL team to unveil new uniforms on Wednesday, and one of their division rivals thinks the jerseys are laughable.
Much like the threads that were unveiled by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers the day before, Atlanta’s new jerseys are fairly simple and have a vintage color scheme. However, not long after the big reveal, the Carolina Panthers took to Twitter to ruthlessly mock the Falcons for having jerseys that strongly resemble those worn by Adam Sandler and the inmates in “The Longest Yard.”
— Carolina Panthers (@Panthers) April 8, 2020
Those are quite similar. The color scheme isn’t exactly uncommon, but even the numbers look almost the same. Of course, the Falcons are sticking by their new design. They responded to Carolina’s trolling with a simple message.
— Atlanta Falcons (@AtlantaFalcons) April 8, 2020
No matter how badly the Falcons are taunted, they can’t get it much worse than the Los Angeles Rams got it when they recently unveiled their new logo. That said, the Panthers have now given their fans and fans of other teams something to heckle their division rival over. They probably consider that a win.
The Carolina Panthers are facing an uncertain future, but there is some interest in locking down their undisputed star player.
Panthers GM Marty Hurney admitted that the Panthers have had internal discussions with McCaffrey’s agent about a possible contract extension as the running back enters the final guaranteed year of his rookie contract.
Also, this from Marty Hurney conference call talking about Christian McCaffrey's contract. He said while he doesn't ever discuss contracts, he did say "obviously we've had internal discussions. Everybody knows what we think of Christian as a player."
— Steve Reed (@SteveReedAP) April 6, 2020
McCaffrey is indispensible to the Panthers. He had 2,392 total yards and 19 touchdowns in 2019 on his way to his first All-Pro selection.
The Panthers may have designs on being bad for a year, but they can’t afford to lose McCaffrey in the long term. It would be in their best interest to get this done as soon as possible.
Robby Anderson has finally signed a free agent contract, but it is probably not as hefty as the wide receiver had hoped it would be.
Anderson has agreed to a two-year, $20 million deal with the Carolina Panthers, according to multiple reports.
Former Jets’ WR Robby Anderson is signing a two-year, $20 million deal including $12 million in year one with the Carolina Panthers, per source.
— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) March 24, 2020
Anderson will get $12 million from the Panthers in 2020, which is still slightly lower than the salary he was said to be seeking. Some predicted Anderson would get an average annual value in the $13-$15 million range, but his market appeared to come together slowly.
Anderson, 26, had 52 catches for 779 yards and five touchdowns last season. His peak came in 2017 when he posted 63 catches for 941 yards and seven TDs. The Jets were reportedly trying to re-sign him, so it’s possible he simply chose to go elsewhere. Anderson played at Temple when new Panthers head coach Matt Rhule was the head coach of the Owls.
The Panthers are rebuilding their offense after signing quarterback Teddy Bridgewater. Anderson may not be a clear-cut No. 1 receiver, but he dealt with some rough quarterback play in New York and has plenty of upside.
The Carolina Panthers have made it clear they are moving on from Cam Newton, and the former NFL MVP will soon be free to choose his next destination.
After presumably making an effort to trade Newton, the Panthers have decided to release the quarterback. The move could be made official on Tuesday, according to multiple reports.
— Tom Pelissero (@TomPelissero) March 24, 2020
The Panthers signed Teddy Bridgewater to a hefty contract last week, which signaled the end of Newton’s time in Carolina. While there were teams that expressed interest in trading for Newton, those teams likely were not willing to give up much knowing that it was only a matter of time before the Panthers released the 30-year-old.
Newton is coming off foot surgery, and he seems determined to prove he can get back to the level he was at when he was one of the most intimidating players in football. If his foot is 100 percent healed, Newton could make for a great comeback story. While there aren’t many teams currently in need of a starting quarterback, we have heard some intriguing possibilities. It will be interesting to see how the market develops.