Jeremy Brevard

"How Can Panthers End Antonio Brown Trade Rumors? Endorse Faith In Moore"

Ryan Chell
March 07, 2019 - 1:44 am

"I don't want the best wide receiver in the game on this Panthers team."

"Antonio Brown is not necessary to bring a Lombardi Trophy to Charlotte."

"This locker room and wide receiver room doesn't get better with Antonio Brown in it."

"Wait a minute...am I crazy? Am I stupid?"

Don't answer that. It's already clear."

But what I just wrote above is exactly my belief about the floating rumor mill of an All-Pro WR - arguably the best in the game - being available via trade from the Pittsburgh Steelers and linked to the Carolina Panthers. 

And why do you ask?

Because I'm going to use a slogan once made famous by Buck Showalter a couple years back during one of the Orioles' rare playoff runs:

"I Like Our Guys."

In particular, I like one of 'our guys'.

D.J. Moore.

Our 26th President of the United States, Teddy Roosevelt once uttered the phrase, "Speak Softly And Carry A Big Stick...", when describing how best to handle our country's foreign policy at the beginning of the 20th Century.

"Why am I referencing this on a blurb about Carolina sports?"

Because it's EXACTLY what I think about when I saw D.J. Moore a year ago for this Carolina team.

Despite his quiet and reserved nature, that doesn't mean that Moore is going to be invisible next season for the Panthers.

Since the end of the regular season, with the struggles that quarterback Cam Newton had to end the 2018 season along with new Panthers owner David Tepper's Pittsburgh Steelers ties, the name that keeps being mentioned around Carolina is All-Pro wide receiver (and certified Narcissus) Antonio Brown.

I'll say it again.

I don't want Antonio Brown anywhere near this football team. No matter how close he is with Cam Newton in their Instagram stories.

Sitting in the WFNZ studios each day, I've actually been impressed with the sensibility and restraint Panthers fans have had in not wanting this regime to go for it all by acquiring Brown.

But why is that reasonable to swallow? Why wouldn't any fanbase want to have their former MVP QB catching passes from the best wide receiver in the league right now?

Because I think DJ Moore will be headed down that path.

Taken 24th overall last year by GM Marty Hurney and being annointed as the top pass catcher in the draft, it did take Moore awhile to get a firm grasp of the reps in Norv Turner's offense and become a focal point of Cam Newton's progressions.

But once Moore found the starting lineup in Week 8 against the Baltimore Ravens, Moore literally "ran with it" - finishing his inaugural season in the NFL with 55 catches for 788 yards and two scores.

He also added 172 yards on the ground to lead all rookie wideouts with 960 scrimmage yards.

In their Week 2 loss to the Atlanta Falcons, Moore became only the fourth Panther in team history to score a touchdown on his first ever reception as he ran a 51-yard catch over the middle straight to the end zone.

Despite being soft-spoken throughout his time at Maryland and as a Carolina Panther, Moore brought a physicality to this wide receiver group that definitely wasn't mute by any means.

It was loud enough that it caught the eyes of future Hall-of-Famers like former Panthers WR Steve Smith.

"I saw a guy with a lot of skill. He's a great player. He's going to make a name for himself, and that's what he's doing," Smith told the media in Atlanta at the Super Bowl.

In the now famous clip after the draft, Smitty said on NFL Network that the Panthers have never replaced him since being ushered out the door by Dave Gettleman all those years ago.

Until today.

Smitty may see a lot of himself in Moore, but what I see is a guy who Smitty was asked to replace in Baltimore.

Anquan Boldin.

Will Moore put up the numbers that Boldin did in three of his first four seasons in the league as an Arizona Cardinal going over 1200 yards?

Probably not.

But what I see here is an elite playmaker that is going to move the chains and not dissapear when the games matters most.

Like Antonio Brown did in Week 17 this season sitting out in the final stretch of a playoff run.

A guy who is going to dust himself off after fumbling the ball twice on the road in Washington.

Instead of going straight to ESPN's Jeff Darlington to throw his quarterback and head coach under the bus.

Thank God it seems like Moore is never going to be the guy tooting his own horn about his play on the field.

I just wish the Panthers would do it for him to put any of this Antonio Brown talk to rest.

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