Panthers Trade Daryl Worley for Torrey Smith

The NFL is on fire right now. We are a week out from the new NFL calendar year and free agency starting, yet teams are making trades and signing released players like they’re the MLB. I’m not sure I remember this many moves made this close together before. Not saying it hasn’t happened, but I just don’t remember it, if it did.

The Panthers and new/old GM Marty Hurney got themselves in on the action this afternoon:

The trade is now about three hours old as this post is being written. I have seen plenty of hot takes on the internet and most of them feel like the deal favors Philadelphia. Me personally, I never hated the deal. Initially I was probably in the middle, but the more I think about it, the more I actually like the move. I’m not naive to think Torrey Smith is the same guy he was with Baltimore, but I think he brings Carolina more positives than negatives.

The main positive here, is that Torrey Smith checks a couple of boxes when it came to WR needs for Marty Hurney and Ron Rivera. Hurney mentioned, shortly after he was hired permanently, that he wanted to add speed to the skill positions and just last week, Rivera expressed his desire to add a veteran to the WR group. Smith is both a veteran WR and has speed to stretch the defense.

Smith haters are going to point to the fact that he hasn’t put up 1,000 yard stats in several seasons and that what the WR group really needs is a true number one. My response to that is that getting a “true” number one is much easier said than done and financially, Carolina isn’t set up to just go spend big money on a WR in free agency with the amount of holes there are on the roster currently. Carolina could still draft a WR with number one potential, but it’s unrealistic to expect a rookie to carry that type of load from day one. From a locker room stand point, Smith is a two time champion and a WPMOY nominee so not too shabby there.

The other player in the deal obviously is Worley. Wasn’t the biggest fan of his. Thought he was really solid in run support as a DB, but his pass coverage was leaky at best. It felt at times during last season that Worley might not be in long term plans for the team. Between the occasional sub tweets to the team and being benched from time to time by the coaching staff, the writing was on the wall in my opinion.

Should be interesting to see how it plays out.

Should the Hornets Trade Kemba Walker?

Trading NBA superstars hasn’t been an uncommon practice across the league in recent years. Hell, this past offseason saw Cleveland and Boston swap Kyrie Irving and Isaiah Thomas respectively and Indiana got in the action by shipping Paul George to Oklahoma City. In the current NBA landscape, the era of the super team, the only way for stars to compete for titles is to join up with other stars on contending teams and the only way for non super teams to compete for titles is to ship stars out for draft picks and tank for more in hopes that they can build around a new young star and attract others in to compete.

From a team perspective, the process is arduous and not a guarantee to yield quick results or even work entirely. Philadelphia, LA Lakers and Minnesota are all teams that have embraced tanking with bad teams and while none of these teams are considered contenders, the amount of young talent on their rosters is obvious. In other words, the future is bright for each franchise. Here in Charlotte, the future is neither bright, nor bleak and that is the problem.

Sitting in the middle in the NBA with a roster not built to content or be bad is the absolute worst place you can be. Continuity in the league is a good thing and can allow you to play into May in most cases, but there comes a point where you have to blow it up and reset. Most Hornets fans will tell you that the time to blow it up and reset is right now. The team, as it’s constructed, will never contend for a title and aren’t even a safe playoff pick so you may as well reset with new young talent and see what comes of it. Fans on the other side will point to the disappointing history of the Charlotte franchise tanking before. Whiffing on draft picks and forcing bad contracts to try and be competitive will help with that perception. Fans that are anti tanking will say that tanking doesn’t guarantee anything and in 6-7 years we will back where we started with nothing to show for it. Neither side is wrong.

The one constant over the course of this current Hornets era has been Kemba Walker. He’s the one draft pick over the seven year stretch that he’s been with the team that has legitimately been a success. His all star appearance last season was the first for a Charlotte player since Gerald Wallace went in 2010. Kemba’s presence on the team alone, has kept the Hornets from completely falling off of a cliff into despair. If not for him, this team would have reset a long time ago.

Friday morning, the future for Kemba in Charlotte finally showed signs that it may be coming to an end.


Hornets fans have begun having the whole “should we trade Kemba Walker?” discussion since last season went down the toilet, but I’m not sure those fans were actually prepared for the discussion to have real legitimate merit. Make no mistake, trading Kemba would be a franchise altering move signaling that the Hornets are prepared to reset and rebuild and it certainly would have a ripple effect throughout the fan base.

Charlotte Hornets fans deserve NBA success arguably more than perhaps any other franchise in the league. They are one of only three teams to have never even appear in a conference finals much less a NBA final. They share that distinction with the LA Clippers and the New Orleans Pelicans who were the Charlotte Hornets before relocating in 02-03. The Clippers are in a similar situation to Charlotte in that their star players from the past few years have either moved on or have expressed interest in moving on. However, the franchise just went through their most successful stint in franchise history with the Paul, Griffin and Jordan trio that saw several top four finishes in the West and multiple first round series wins. The Pelicans are an extension of the Hornets, but they at least have one of the top 10 players (regardless of position) in the NBA to build around in Anthony Davis who is still only 24. They’re future is at least somewhat bright for them.

Then there is Charlotte who is only NBA elite at being mediocre. Charlotte broke into the NBA in the late 80’s when the NBA expanded and added the Hornets along with Miami, Orlando and Minnesota. All three of those teams have experienced a substantial amount of success when compared to Charlotte. Miami has three NBA titles, Orlando has two conference titles and Minnesota has one. That leaves Charlotte with zero.

All Charlotte has are great seasons from star players like Alonzo Mourning, Larry Johnson, Glen Rice, Baron Davis, etc. The one thing that all of these players have in common? They were traded away by the Hornets. Mourning and Johnson were both traded away in consecutive offseasons after they proved they couldn’t share the team as stars. Glen Rice came to Charlotte as a result of the Mourning trade and after two of the better statistical seasons in franchise history. Baron Davis technically left Charlotte when the franchise did, but the Hornets traded him to Golden State in 2005.

This brings us full circle back to Kemba Walker, who has vaulted himself into the conversation of all time Hornets greats during his tenure here and is now on the trade block. This, of course, is all circumstantial as it wouldn’t be surprising that teams would be interested in Kemba given how good of a player he is. The question really is, are the Hornets seriously trying to shop him? Woj comments that the Hornets have a ton of bad contracts and that packaging Kemba with one of them would be the only way to quickly shed some of that cap space. Michael Jordan had an interview earlier this week stating that he doesn’t want to trade Kemba and if he did, it would need to be for another All Star. Neither scenario seems like a likely option so my guess is that Kemba won’t be moved at the deadline.

But should Charlotte trade Kemba? The franchise cannot win or compete as currently constructed and what are you doing if you aren’t trying to compete and succeed at the highest level? Charlotte isn’t a market that is going to attract marquee free agents and while Kemba is talented, he isn’t on the level of someone like Russel Westbrook or Anthony Davis who are MVP caliber players in a small market that could legitimately carry a team to the finals with the right piece or two. The best way for Charlotte to get that type of player is through the draft and your best chance at doing that is with a top 3 pick. Charlotte isn’t bad enough to have a top 3 pick and likely won’t be that bad unless Kemba is traded away.

Then again, the draft is not a guarantee. Charlotte has proven with their MKG and Cody Zeller picks that even if you pick in the top 3-4, the talent evaluators in the front office are more likely to whiff than hit. That’s the real dilemma. Why give away the most proven commodity on the roster when there is no history of the team being able to get it right during a reset.

If it were up to me, I wouldn’t trade Kemba. The value is too high for me to do that right now and emotionally, the city and fans need him. There will be a time where it makes sense to move Kemba. Perhaps it will be as soon as this summer, but it’s not now. Keep Kemba.

Recap of the Final Roster & Subsequent Transactions Part 2

This is Part 2 of my recap of last weekend and all the moves the Panthers made during and after roster cuts. Read part one here.

Hurney’s Second First Trade: For the first time the NFL adjusted the rules of the cut down process to eliminate the 75 man cut down and just have one cut period where the rosters would go from 90 to 53. As a result, there were a ton of players scheduled to hit the waiver wire/open market all at once. One thing that was pretty noticeable were the amount of trades made league wide. I guess GM’s were trying to get ahead of the market a little bit.

I’m a big trade guy. Those are always fun for me regardless of the sport. Not all trades work out in your favor and the initial transaction isn’t always something to be happy or excited about, but as someone who loves player transactions in general, I love a trade. I love deep diving into a guy trying to figure out how we just landed the missing piece to a future title run and how the new pieces mesh with the existing ones. It’s just fun.

The trade Marty Hurney made wasn’t a big headline grabber, but I like the end result for the team. Hurney flipped WR Kaelin Clay and a 2019 7th round pick for Buffalo 2016 6th round pick DB Kevon Seymour. To be honest, I don’t know much about Seymour other than what I’ve read and watched of him post trade. His stats as a rookie were pretty solid. He made 15 appearances and 3 starts as a rookie last year and only allowed one reception for every 14.8 snaps he had on the field which was the best mark for any rookie DB last season (including James Bradberry & Daryl Worley).

In Seymour, the Panthers inherit a guy with three more seasons of control and can slot in as depth on the outside and inside right away. Given the fact that he’s been working in a Sean McDermott system all summer, the defense under Steve Wilks shouldn’t be too hard for him to pick up. It’ll be important that he’s ready by Sunday since UDFA Cole Luke is dealing with a nagging ankle injury.

The dynamic of the trade interests me as much as anything. Hurney told the press that he was the one who initiated the call to his old buddy Brandon Beane in Buffalo. That makes sense due to Buffalo receiving a pick as part of the return compensation. My guess is that the scouting department under Dave Gettleman had pretty high marks on the kid during the 2016 draft vetting process. Makes me wonder if Dave and the staff were looking at Seymour as a possibility for the pick that ended up going to Zack Sanchez, another 2016 DB draft pick that was waived over the weekend.

When Sanchez was picked, he was marked as a guy that could develop as a nickel corner due to his size and instincts that could also fill in on the outside as needed. His performance as a rookie was certainly less than inspiring and even after playing pretty well during the preseason, he left the Pittsburgh game with a groin injury and was waived without going on IR and wasn’t even brought back on the practice squad. Pretty telling that they were ready to move on from him.

Buffalo is a rebuilding team. They have been selling players like Sammy Watkins and Ronald Darby away for band aid replacements and draft capital. When you look at what the Panthers gave up to get Seymour, it falls in line with what Buffalo has been doing. Kaelin Clay had a nice August and earned his spot on the roster, but the Panthers already have speedy receivers and return specialists in Byrd and Samuel so he was surplus and likely not to get much burn. The 7th round pick was a throw in given that Seymour is the higher ceiling player to even out the trade. The fact that Buffalo got a player back in the deal in general makes me wonder if they asked for someone like Byrd instead and had to settle on Clay and a pick (which they need) when the Panthers politely declined. In the short term, Clay gives Buffalo a deep threat they can rotate in and value in the return game.

All in all I liked the trade for Carolina. It won’t move the needle, but it helps give them quality depth at a spot they needed it.

Working the Waiver Wire: The trade wasn’t the only work Hurney did to acquire players over the weekend. He also spent some time on the waiver wire making a couple of successful claims to add some more depth to the roster.

The most notable move he made will be the one the provides the least amount of impact up front and that was picking up the rights to Brad Kaaya. The Lions took Kaaya in the 6th round of this year’s draft and opted to go with Jake Rudock as the backup instead. I personally like the move low key — it still doesn’t make me miss Joe Webb less — but I like it. My faith in Derek Anderson has been waning along with most of the fan base the past couple of seasons and I have felt that it might have been in the Panthers interest to have invested a late round pick in a developmental QB the past couple of years.

Carolina is lucky to be set with a franchise QB, but having a young backup you can develop is never a bad idea. They may not start, but if they show out in camp or spot snaps here or there, they become a tradeable asset. Carolina hasn’t had a young QB in the pipeline since 2011 when they drafted Cam. Jonathon Jones of SI mentioned that Hurney was a big advocate of Kaaya pre draft while he was still hovering around the media prior to reclaiming his GM post. Kaaya effectively comes in as a Hurney draft pick for this season. Perhaps it will work out, perhaps it won’t, but having Kaaya around to learn from Cam for a season isn’t a bad thing. Important to remember that Derek Anderson is a free agent at the end of the season.

The other selection was Demetrius Cox from Cincinnati. Cox was a UDFA this year out of Michigan State and can play both safety spots. He comes to Charlotte as just the fourth safety on the roster and will be looked at to play right away. I don’t know much about Cox’s game or skill set, but he had a nice game against Tampa during week one of the preseason.

Practice Squad Notes:  The ten players (eleven this year for Carolina) that usually fill out the practice squad are always a big talking point at the time they’re established, but rarely do these guys come up and play.

Fan favorite Alex Armah is the headliner of the class. He’s a young fullback that has shown some skills, but he is still raw so having a year on the practice squad will benefit him going forward. The Panthers were also able to stash a couple of safeties that I thought had decent showings this summer, but the fact that they were stashed prior to us picking up Cox off waivers was interesting.

Eric Crume is the most likely player to get called up in case of injury with Love and Butler both banged up.


Everything is in full go and it’s time for the big boys to separate themselves. I like what the Panthers have done so far and I think they have a squad that can compete for a playoff spot. We should see some more roster moves over the next couple of weeks, but for now, it’s time to focus on beating the 49ers on Sunday.

Recap of the Final Roster & Subsequent Transactions Part 1

At long last, it’s finally game week! No more empty weekends without Carolina Panther football for the foreseeable future. If you’re an avid investor in the stock market, I’d suggest looking into local businesses like Bojangles to invest in as their business should begin to spike as tailgate season officially kicks off alongside the actual NFL season.

Of course, in order to get there every team must go through camp and, more importantly, roster cuts. Like it does every year, the Panthers had some guys get released that we weren’t expecting and some guys make the team that we weren’t expecting. New/Old GM Marty Hurney also go involved in some waiver claim action and joined in on the trade train that every team in the league seemed to jump on.

There was a lot to process and reflect on. Here are the highlights:

Biggest Surprise Cut: Joe Webb. Pretty clear answer here. A week ago, my buddy and I were discussing with each other who we felt like the biggest surprise cut would be and neither of us had Webb on our radar. If you had told me beforehand that a QB was going to get cut, I would have confidently believed that Derek Anderson was the one you’d be referring to. Given Joe Webb’s position flexibility as a wide receiver and his production on special teams, his value felt obvious. Webb’s release was reportedly not a popular one among the locker room which makes sense. The reason they let him go also makes sense which I’ll get into during part two of this post.

Biggest Surprise Inclusion: If we were just listing an individual, I’d go with lineman Greg Van Roten who was a late addition to the training camp roster. That’s a feel good story, but the biggest surprise from the initial final 53 was definitely the inclusion of two kickers. The battle between Graham Gano and Harrison Butker has been widely publicized throughout the summer. Going into the Pittsburgh game, the feeling I got from the media was that Gano had been the better kicker in practice and the job was really his to lose. Similar reports had come out that Hurney was shopping Butker across the league looking for a potential trade.

The turning point in the competition was during the aforementioned game when Gano clanked a 51 yard attempt off the left upright which was his second such miss of the preseason. After the game, the reports shifted that the competition was even. Gano’s struggles last season are well known and it’s pretty obvious that the leash is short. I was surprised that given the depth issues at some positions, the staff opted to roll with two kickers. I’m sure Hurney is still trying to field potential trade offers for one of the two, but I can’t imagine they can afford both guys on the roster past Week 1. Gano has been tabbed to start, but if he misses any of his chances, he could find himself on the bottom.

Stay tuned tomorrow for part two of the final roster breakdown where I dive into the trade and waiver claims!


Welcome to Charlotte Sports Blog! The blog that is 100% dedicated to professional sports in the Charlotte, NC market.

This blog has been something I have wanted to do for a while, but admittedly, it’s taken some time to get it going. I started writing a couple of posts around the 2017 NBA all star break when I got the blog and domain set up, but the timing felt off so I scrapped it. When contemplating how and when to really launch the blog, it was pretty clear that the correct timing was going to be important when it came to building momentum.

At the core of it, the blog will be dedicated to professional sports in Charlotte, NC namely the Panthers and the Hornets. As a small market in the sports landscape, the Panthers and the Hornets rarely get coverage from the national outlets and there isn’t enough local coverage around that typically quenches the thirst of the reader for content. Now I’m not a journalist and I don’t claim to have any legitimate sources, but breaking news or providing reported speculation of team news is not the goal of this blog.

My idea of this blog is to give fans of both the Panthers and the Hornets a place to read about both teams from the view of the common fan. Whether it’s a game recap, statistical analysis, media hot takes, free agency & draft news or just anything team related, I will strive to have that content here and available to you.

I’ve been chomping at the bit for months to put this blog in motion. I sat through both league drafts and free agency periods as I waited for the right time to provide content. Ultimately, I felt that the best time to begin a blog would be at the beginning of a season. With training camp set to kick off the new NFL season this week, now is as good a time as any to get going.

I’m looking forward to following along the story lines with all of you and am excited to share my takes here.

Check back for more in the coming days!