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Panthers Trade Otah, Addition By Subtraction

By Chris Johnson
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Yesterday seemed like a normal Monday.  The slow, dragging morning, the stark pain of waking up and returning to work, and the long drawn-out afternoon until it’s finally time to go home and unwind. Well, yesterday the Carolina Panthers added a little extra incentive to get home faster and read up on all the news. The Panthers, who have never been a team to make too many off-season trades and acquisitions, made not one but two trades yesterday.

The first trade was with Oakland, sending a conditional seventh-round pick and receiving wide receiver Louis Murphy. Murphy is entering his fourth season in the league. In 2009 he had a 521 yard, four touchdown season, backed up by a 609 yard, two touchdown season in 2010. In 2011 he was riddled with injuries: Murphy’s production fizzled and he ended the season with only 241 yards. He is a speedster wide out who shows great potential. Yesterday when this move was made I figured Murphy was most likely brought in to compete with David Gettis for the number three receiver spot, but after Gettis was placed on the PUP list I feel Murphy is more of an insurance policy.

This all but puts the nail in the coffin for Armanti Edwards’ time here in Carolina. With the addition of Murphy I don’t see Edwards making the team. The Panthers will likely enter the season with Steve Smith at 1, Brandon LaFell at 2, some combination of Murphy and Gettis at 3 and 4, and Joe Adams and Kealoha Pilares splitting return duties. Sure, some App State faithful probably believe Armanti still has a chance, but I am more than positive that the Edwards project is done, and probably a year too late. Sorry Mountaineers.

The second trade of the day happened when the Panthers sent Jeff Otah to the New York Jets for a conditional seventh-round pick. When I first heard news of the Otah trade I was immediately excited, thinking we were getting a fairly nice draft pick we could use to build next season with. When I found out it was just for a seventh rounder and that basically the trade was Otah for Murphy, I was a little confused. Otah was a first-round pick who had a few good seasons early on. I felt like we should have gotten something a little more back for him. Plus, I think about the last lineman we sent to the Jets when we thought he was damaged goods: he turned out to be a Pro Bowler for them. The more I thought about it, the more I liked it though. Otah was entering the last year of his contract, and barring an outstanding season we would have let him walk anyway. While he showed lots of promise early in his career, as of late he has been plagued by injuries, and only played four games in the past two years. More importantly he has been questioned about his heart and desire to play the game. The Otah trade was more of an addition by subtraction move for Carolina, and if the guy doesn’t want to play we don’t need him in the locker room. I’m sure the Jets feel like they got a steal in the trade, but in my opinion the Panthers are better off without him.

With Otah gone it seems that Byron Bell would be the obvious replacement since he played most of the season in the injured Otah’s place. However, I do believe there will be a training camp battle between Bell, Garry Williams and Bruce Campbell for the starting tackle position. At the end of the day the Panthers made some good moves that only make us better. I can’t wait for training camp to start.

As always feel free to send me your thoughts, praise and hate mail to cjohnsonwfnz@gmail.com.


Disclaimer: the views and opinions expressed in this blog do not necessarily reflect those of Sports Radio 610 AM WFNZ The Fan.

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