Why the Carolina Panthers Need Jason Campbell

Evan HuntleyContributor IApril 15, 2010

CHARLOTTE, NC - OCTOBER 11:  Jason Campbell #17 of Washington Redskins drops back to throw a pass against the Carolina Panthers at Bank of America Stadium on October 11, 2009 in Charlotte, North Carolina.  (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)
Streeter Lecka/Getty Images

The Carolina Panthers have been fairly quiet this off-season, other than the release of long-time starting quarterback Jake Delhomme, and his subsequent signing to a deal in Cleveland.

Meanwhile, the Washington Redskins have continued to make headlines with big moves this year, the most notable of which was the acquisition of former Philadelphia Eagles QB Donovan McNabb.

With the news of McNabb's addition to the Washington ranks came the natural assumption that former starter Jason Campbell's days in DC were at an end.

While Campbell has since signed his one-year, $3.1 million tender, it has been clear through various media outlets that the quarterback would be happier if he was traded to another organization.

Who can blame him, honestly?  After several unsuccessful seasons with the Redskins, having his head coach emasculated mid-season, and going 4-12 overall, a fresh start has to be on Campbell's mind.  Add to that having a division rival trade their veteran, Pro Bowl quarterback to your team, and you can see why Campbell might want out.

The Redskins have made it abundantly clear that they are willing to trade Jason Campbell, and it is crucial that the Carolina Panthers make a move for him.

With the release of Jake Delhomme, the Panthers are left with only two quarterbacks currently on their roster: Matt Moore (the savior of Carolina's 8-8 season last year), and Hunter Cantwell, an unproven rookie who hasn't thrown a pass in the NFL.

There is no depth at quarterback in Carolina right now. Moore, the undisputed starter, has played 16 total NFL games, with a combined 1,783 yards in three seasons with the Panthers (one of which he did not throw a pass).  There isn't much to say about Moore's inexperienced backup except just that: he has no experience.

The easy solution for the Panthers this off-season, and the only viable one at that, is to make a trade for Jason Campbell.

First of all, Campbell would provide a much more solid quarterback depth this season. I won't dispute the poor performance of the Washington Redskins last year, but despite a dismal offensive line and an entirely inept coach, Campbell put up 3,618 passing yards and a respectable 86.4 passer rating.

Though he's been blamed for much of the trouble the Redskins have had, Campbell is at very least a solid QB with 6 years experience in the NFL.  The best part of the deal is the Panthers wouldn't even have to start him.  Moore could continue in that position, while Campbell would provide a more than adequate backup, were the need to arise.

Campbell would also come cheap extremely cheap, in fact.  The Redskins initially put a first-round tender on the quarterback, but reports have since stated that they don't expect to get much more than a 4th round pick in return. 

At this point, with Washington's lack of draft picks overall, I wouldn't be surprised if they would take less than that.  For Carolina, this is a steal—where else can the Panthers nab a veteran QB for depth, at the price of next to nothing?  Picking up Campbell is a no-brainer, a move which will do nothing but benefit the Panthers offense this season.

The final issue at hand is that the Panthers don't really have any other options.  The first pick Carolina has in the 2010 NFL Draft doesn't come until midway through the second round, at 48th overall. 

By then, I expect most of the elite and even second-tier quarterbacks to be gone. Drafting a rookie "project" quarterback with this pick (or a later one) solves nothing, except to put inexperience behind inexperience in the quarterback depth.

As for other trade or free agency options, there isn't really anyone else out there with Campbell's ability level.

In my eyes, Carolina's hands are tied.  As much as Panthers fans might cringe at the sight of a quarterback who just led a team to a 4-12 record, it's a move that has to be made—and ultimately, they'll be thankful it was.