Could the Panthers give up on Clausen after one year?

Thanks to the Bills win over the Bengals on Sunday, the Panthers are now in sole possession of the worst record in the league.

Let’s assume they finish in that position. What direction will the go with the 1st-overall selection?

The answer to that question depends on who is calling the shots in Carolina. Head coach John Fox’s contract expires at the end of the year and it’s unlikely he’ll be invited back, and GM Marty Hurney is on the hot seat as well.

TAMPA, FL - NOVEMBER 14: Quarterback Jimmy Clausen  of the Carolina Panthers looks to hand the ball off against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers during the game at Raymond James Stadium on November 14, 2010 in Tampa, Florida. (Photo by J. Meric/Getty Images)

The Jimmy Clausen era may be a short one in Carolina.

So while it’s too early give a definitive answer, it’s not hard to speculate that Clausen’s tenure as the starter could be short lived. Remember, 30 of the 32 NFL teams passed on Clausen – some more than once – in last year’s draft. So whoever the Panthers hire likely had the opportunity to select Clausen, but chose to go in a different direction.

But, regardless of who is in Carolina’s front office, Andrew Luck may actually hold the keys to Clausen’s future.

Given the choice between Clausen and Jake Locker or Cam Newton, it may be safer to stick with Clausen (and his significantly smaller contract) and address another area of need with the 1st pick. But if Luck is on the board, it will be hard to make that choice.

Andrew Luck will be the best quarterback to enter the draft since I started this website in 2004. And those with more experience than me say that he may be the best since Peyton Manning.

So while it’s hard to justify giving up on Clausen after just one season, Luck may simply be too talented to pass over.

Posted on by Ryan McCrystal in 2011 NFL Draft, Panthers 1 Comment

About the author

Ryan McCrystal

Ryan launched DraftAce in 2004. His Top 100 board is currently ranked 1st out of 20 publications in The Huddle Report's five-year averages. His mock draft is ranked 10th out of 32 competitors.You can also find Ryan's weekly Heisman Predictor series on ESPN Insider every fall.