In 2009 Quarterback Matt Moore took over the then 4-7 Panthers and led them to a 4-1 closing stretch.
Across that span Moore racked up a 98.5 quarterback rating behind eight touchdowns to just two interceptions. The Carolina Panthers rewarded the young signal caller with a one-year tender of over three million dollars, or roughly ten times his 2009 salary.
The initial signals coming out of Carolina would be that the team was prepping for an open quarterback competition between Moore and veteran Jake Delhomme when the Panthers broke camp.
Instead Carolina put its entire stock in Matt Moore by releasing Jake Delhomme following a disappointing campaign in which the 35 year old quarterback posted eighteen interceptions alongside just eight touchdowns (for a paltry 59.4 rating).
"My wife and I are ecstatic right now," Moore stated, "I was surprised. I didn't know exactly what to expect, to be perfectly honest with you. When my agent called and told me about (the tender), I was really excited and really happy. I think it shows they have a lot of confidence in me, which is reassuring."
The move comes as a surprise to many as Jake Delhomme’s $42.5 million contract extension with over $20 million in guarantees was thought to make him too expensive to release.
Many eyebrows were raised when that initial extension was signed.
Delhomme would have been 39 when the contract ended in 2014, and had just come off a disappointing playoff match in which he threw five interceptions in a 33-13 loss to the surprising Arizona Cardinals.
It will be the change behind center since 2003, when Delhomme took the reins on the young franchise. Delhomme had gone into 2009 with a 54-33 record as a starter, but started the year as he had finished the last.
He seemed to temporarily right his game with three solid performances in which he posted ratings of 94.3 and 115.8 sandwiched around a respectable 77.2 turnover-free game.
Unfortunately it did not last, he threw another five interceptions in two games before injury forced him to miss the final five games.
Carolina did not make designs public, instead remaining quiet on the matter despite the apparent difference in the way the team played with either quarterback starting.
It was thought before the offseason began that head coach John Fox’s fate would be the final word on Delhomme’s job security.
Instead Fox was retained while the aging quarterback found himself the latest member of an ever-growing free agent crop.