Kyler Murray cut all ties with the Arizona Cardinals on social media and teammates piled on to speculation that the star quarterback might want out. With it becomingly increasingly clear that Murray isn’t happy in Arizona, multiple NFL teams will be calling about a potential trade.
Even after a brutal performance in the Wild Card Round loss to the Los Angeles Rams, Murray is still one of the most exciting, young quarterbacks in the NFL. With one of the strongest arms and offering unique athleticism, he is the caliber of player an offense can be built around,
The Cardinals will try to make things work with Murray and they don’t have to move him right now. But with a contract seemingly not his only issue with the organization, the possibility exists that a trade is the final outcome.
- Kyler Murray passing stats (2021): 3,787 passing yards, 24-5 TD-INT ratio, 69.2% completion rate, 110.6 QB rating
While there are plenty of intriguing trade possibilities, let’s explore why a move to the Carolina Panthers could be possible.
What would a Kyler Murray trade cost the Carolina Panthers?
We know David Tepper, the Panthers’ owner, desperately wants to upgrade at quarterback. He pushed the front office to acquire Deshaun Watson in 2021. While that effort fell short, Carolina will try again this spring. But for an organization that might be interested in maintaining a cleaner image after the allegations against Jerry Richardson that led to him selling the team, a quarterback without 22 accusations of sexual misconduct might be the more appealing option.
Murray is the best option. From an on-field perspective, he is a monumental upgrade over Sam Darnold. With much steadier quarterback play and a more explosive offense, Carolina can win the NFC South in 2022 and beyond. Another important element, Murray is a marketable star for the Panthers to make the face of their franchise as they push for a new stadium.
- Carolina Panthers trade: 2022 CAR 1st (6th overall), 2023 CAR 1st, 2023 CAR 2nd, 2024 CAR 1st, 2024 CAR 3rd, DT Derrick Brown
- Arizona Cardinals trade: Kyler Murray
If Arizona is forced to move on from Murray, rebuilding is likeliest its only option. Acquiring the 6th pick and future selections from Carolina at least gives the next front office something to work with. Keep in mind, a Murray trade and regression in 2022 would likely end general manager Steve Keim’s tenure in the desert.
There’s no doubt the Panthers will be more than willing to unload whatever draft picks and young talent is necessary to acquire a franchise quarterback. Murray is that guy and if he asks for a trade, Carolina should be among the favorites to land him.
Why the Panthers might be the perfect fit
Kyler Murray is the dream quarterback for the Carolina Panthers offense. Even if you put his rushing ability to the side and keep him in the pocket, he’s one of the most dangerous players in the NFL. In every single way, he would be the best passer this franchise has started since the healthy Cam Newton days.
For one thing, the 24-year-old is fantastic in a vertical offense. Murray posted the fourth-highest QB rating (115.6), the fifth-best completion rate (46.1%) and threw the third-most touchdowns (9) on throws 20-plus yards downfield, per Pro Football Focus. If you put those numbers in comparison to Darnold (42.5 QB rating, 27.5% completion rate, 1 TD on 40 attempts) it’s immediately clear one area where Murray makes this offense better.
Carolina’s offensive line does earn plenty of blame for the inconsistency and inefficient quarterback play in recent years. In some ways, Murray would amplify some issues by holding onto the football too long and not always recognizing pressure. But this same quarterback also posted the eighth-highest QB rating (111.5) when blitzed in 2021 and he finished with the fifth-highest completion rate (54.9%) under pressure.
He would walk into an offense with All-Pro weapon Christian McCaffrey, No. 1 receiver D.J. Moore and complementary weapons (Robby Anderson, Terrace Marshall Jr.). Considering how he liked to feed the ball to Chase Edmonds in prior seasons, the Murray-McCaffrey connection would deliver even greater results.
Of course, there is also his rushing ability. Ben McAdoo, Carolina’s new offensive coordinator, is fully capable of designing an offense that tailors to his quarterback’s strengths. Mixing in RPOs, rollouts and getting Murray into the open field with room to run is all within McAdoo’s capabilities.
- Kyler Murray rushing stats (2021): 423 rushing yards, 5 touchdowns, 25 first downs
The Panthers are a great quarterback away from being a dangerous team and Murray is their solution. A trade remains unlikely, but this might be the best landing spot for him if he wants out.