2012 Carolina Panthers: The Panthers Escalate Competition at No. 3 WR Spot

Nader Ktait@@NaderKtaitCorrespondent IIJuly 23, 2012

Carolina Panthers recently acquired WR Louis Murphy from the Oakland Raiders
Carolina Panthers recently acquired WR Louis Murphy from the Oakland RaidersThearon W. Henderson/Getty Images

When a struggling franchise acquires a talented quarterback like Cam Newton, it's hard to believe that there wouldn't be much competition at wide receiver. It's not like it's real easy for a team to find another Steve Smith, you know?

The Carolina Panthers seem to be making the situation at number three wideout even more interesting with addition of Louis Murphy from the Oakland Raiders.

There hasn't been much word regarding the details of the trade but, according to profootballtalk.com, "The Raiders announced the move, saying they received an undisclosed conditional draft choice."

This move appears to be a three-way trade, tweeted Joe Person of the Charlotte Observer. Shortly after the news of Murphy's trade, the New York Jets announced they had acquired Jeff Otah from the Carolina Panthers. 

In other words, the Panthers gave up a conditional draft pick to get Murphy, and then got one back by trading Otah.

In a blog, Person wrote that this move appears to not only raise questions about David Gettis' situation but also Armanti Edwards' as well. Person's take on Gettis was a little more surprising than Edwards', in my opinion.

Edwards has been a bit of a disappointment in Carolina. He played quarterback at Appalachian State but was drafted in hopes of becoming a deep threat wide receiver. The Panthers started using Edwards as a punt returner, but that didn't turn out too well. Edwards' longest return was for 17 yards. 

The Panthers drafted Joe Adams from Arkansas in hopes of being Edwards' replacement. This didn't look so good for Edwards' future as a No. 3 wideout for Carolina. But, according to Bryan Strickland of panthers.com, Marty Hurney stated that him and Ron Rivera believe Edwards was more a receiver than a punt returner, anyway.

As for Gettis, his situation surprises me because there had been a lot of discussion about whether there would be a competition between Gettis and Brandon LaFell for the second receiver spot.

Gettis is returning from an ACL surgery. He missed the entire 2011 season, after having an impressive 2010 season, despite the 2-14 record. 

However, LaFell managed 613 receiving yards and three touchdowns, despite not starting the whole 2011 season. He's shown some promise, not only in his ability to make catches, but has also thrown some decent blocks.

Thus, there has not been much talk about who will be the second receiver. According to Person, the addition of Murphy should pose no threat to LaFell. In other words, LaFell is going to be the second receiver no matter what happens between Gettis and Murphy.

And, I guess that's the point of this move. The Panthers are serious about finding a deep threat for Newton. While Gettis seemed to be possibility, the Panthers don't seem confident that they've figure out what to do at the position just quite yet. In fact, Person wrote, "[Gettis] didn't do much during OTAs and minicamp."

What exactly that means, I'm not too sure. But, while LaFell continues to impress, Gettis apparently still needs to do a little more.

Some might think that Gettis or Edwards might be on their way out, given the news of these recent trades. If anyone were to leave, I'd say it'd be Edwards. Neither of Gettis or Edwards are winners in this, though, as Gettis may have also found himself in an unfortunate situation of fighting for the No. 3 spot against Murphy.

But Gettis, Murphy and Edwards aren't the only guys battling it out. After all, the Panthers have a great deal of wide receivers that they'll have to analyze in the coming weeks. This includes Joe Adams, Darvin Adams, Seyi Ajirotutu, Hubert Anyiam, Michael Avila, Brenton Bersin, Lamont Bryant, Jared Green, Rico Wallace and, of course, Kealoha Pilares. 

While Adams and Pilares will mostly likely secure spots on the roster through their special teams contributions, these other guys will have to find ways of impressing their coaches.

One thing is for certain, though: the Panthers have made things a whole lot more interesting at the No. 3 wide receiver spot. I'm sure you can count on hearing a lot more about this situation in the next few days.