New England’s “Panther” Asset is Soaring in Value

Here is a helpful hint for NFL types who think it’s a good idea to make draft-day deals where you exchange a second round pick in next year’s draft for a third rounder in the draft at hand. Before making such a trade, make sure you aren’t going to be terrible the following year!

The Carolina Panthers would have been wise to heed this advice last April. Because it was at that time that they traded their second round pick in 2011 for the Patriots third rounder in 2010. That pick, which was the 89th selection of the 2010 draft, was used to grab Armanti Edwards, a QB out of Appalachian State who Carolina has turned into a wide receiver. I’m not going to pretend to know a thing about Edwards, but press reports sugggest he is off to a rather rocky start in Charlotte.   

Now Carolina, coming off an 8-8 season, probably saw themselves as a decent team in 2010. Matt Moore flashed a little something coming down the stretch and the Panthers won four of their last five. With a little luck and a little something extra from Moore, Carolina probably saw themselves as a fringe playoff team in 2010. Well, they saw wrong as the 2010 Panthers are about as malodorous a group as there is in football. So malodorous that it stings ones nostrils.  

With yesterday’s loss to Chicago, the Panthers now find themselves winless and with a tough schedule looming, it is conceivable that Carolina will have one of the worst records in football this season. As such, that pick they traded for Edwards is soaring in value. Instead of falling in the high-forties, as Carolina probably assumed last April, it now looks like it will come in the mid-30s. That is hardly an insignificant difference.

As I have mentioned before, I firmly believe that it makes little sense to trade a higher-round pick in the future for a lower round pick in the now. But it makes even less sense to do this if there is even a hint of the word “rebuilding” in your business model. In Carolina’s case, there was more than a hint. In fact, it was all over the prospectus. The Panthers had lost their best defensive player. They were breaking in a new QB. Their coach was as good as dead. Best case, the Panthers last April were looking at a middling season. And worst case, they were looking into the abyss. With that said, why would they trade an asset whose value had great growth potential?   

So Carolina made two mistakes. First, they fell into the trap of over-valuing the present while giving short shrift to the future. But more importantly, they took botched their self-evaluation. And by doing so, a poor decision has now become an awful decision. And a decision that Carolina will surely regret when they hear these words next April …. “and with the third pick in the second round, the New England Patriots select ……”

Sidebar: yesterday, ESPN’s Adam Schefter tweeted the following: “At least two teams have called Carolina about the availability of RB DeAngelo Williams. Panthers told each one, They’re not trading him.” I am curious if the Pats might be one of those teams. Clearly, the Pats wouldn’t undue their draft-day trade for Williams as he is a FA after the year. But might the Pats be willing to deal one of their thirds for DeAngelo?  In essence, do a Moss for Williams trade? I suspect that might be a bit rich for the Pats but if something happens to a Pats RB this weekend, who knows.

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