Before the inevitable loss to the Denver Broncos in Super Bowl 50 after going 15-1 that season, the Carolina Panthers had finished 1st place in their division three years in a row. Following that run, each of those years the Panthers progressed further and further. 2013, lost in the divisional round. 2014, won the wild card round, lost in the divisional round. 2015, won the wild card round, the divisional round, but lost the Super Bowl.
Since that loss, the Panthers have missed the playoffs two out of the three seasons, 2016 and 2018, then lost in the wild card during the 2017 season. The 2018 season hit the Panthers the hardest. After starting out 6-2 through the first half of the season, the panthers then recorded 6 straight losses finishing the season at 7-9. Cam Newton, quarterback for the Panthers, also played through a majority of the second half of the season with a shoulder injury that severely impacted his play, causing the Panthers to sit Newton for the final two games of the season.
Seemingly, nothing was going to be looking up for the Panthers, until this current offseason. Newton underwent shoulder surgery to fix the injury he was dealing with for a majority of last season, as well as train extensively to develop a new throwing style to avoid potential future injury.
The Panthers have also made some outstanding offseason signings. With Ryan Kalil retiring, needing to find someone to replace him at center, so the Panthers went out and signed Matt Paradis to a three-year deal worth $27 million. The Panthers also signed defensive end Bruce Irvin to a one-year deal worth an undisclosed amount. One other very impressive offseason move the team made was signing defensive tackle Gerald McCoy to a one-year deal, that can be worth up to $10.25 million, with only $4 million guaranteed. Carolina was considered the least favorite to land McCoy originally, however they beat out the Baltimore Ravens and the Cleveland Browns for him.
As well as having a great offseason so far, in terms of free agency, the Panthers also had one of the best draft classes of 2019 to help bolster their team. They had the 16th overall pick in the draft and selected Brian Burns, defensive end from Florida State. Burns was considered one of the best defensive ends in the draft class. They also drafted Greg Little, an offensive linemen, in the second round and Will Grier, a quarterback, in the third round. Grier is going to be a great motivational tool for Newton to strive to do better, especially coming off of his shoulder surgery. Newton will be and has been a great mentor for Grier going forward.
A lot of things have seemingly gone Carolina’s way this offseason and a lot of it is putting the Panthers in a “win now” mode. On paper, this team is as good as ever, with an offense behind a healthy Cam Newton and Christian McCaffery, and a defense behind Luke Kuechly and Gerald McCoy, their season is going to be a sight to see.