After 18 years with one franchise, a four-time Most Valuable Player, four-time First-team All-Pro, 10-time Pro Bowler, Super Bowl champion and future Hall of Fame quarterback was traded—and to “The Big Apple,” no less. So, that was undoubtedly the biggest move of the offseason, right?
Not according to Jason McCourty, who believes that honor belongs to the Carolina Panthers.
The former safety and current co-host of Good Morning Football was asked if Aaron Rodgers’ trade to the New York Jets will end up being the most impactful acquisition of the spring. While he does love himself some A-Rod, McCourty said the Panthers’ additions of head coach Frank Reich and quarterback Bryce Young will have a greater effect in the grander scheme of things.
“I’m gonna say the Panthers getting Frank Reich and the first overall pick will be the biggest offseason move,” he stated. “You look at the Carolina Panthers a year ago—Matt Rhule’s the head coach. Matt Rhule is fired. Steve Wilks takes over. You remember Robbie Chosen, Robbie Anderson—he gets into a blowout on the sideline, he’s walking into the locker room during the game.
“So the Panthers—with where they were last season to where they are now—getting a head coach in Frank Reich, now getting Bryce Young as their quarterback. This, to me, can be the offseason move of the future where you’re just like, ‘My goodness.’ You look at the Panthers over this past year, the trajectory that they’re on, where they’re going to be—this could’ve been the biggest move of the offseason. Them getting that first overall pick so early on and having a head coach to develop their next young quarterback.”
And that, not so coincidentally, was Carolina’s plan all along.
The hiring of Reich, a former quarterback and heralded offensive play caller, was partly inspired by the franchise’s recent woes under center. Plus, powering your way to the top of the draft board to pick any rookie passer you want is a pretty effective way to fix that position as well.
So while Rodgers may make his presence felt more than any newcomer in 2023, it may be Reich and Young who run with the ball for years to come.