The Carolina Panthers are taking steps to shape their team not only for this season, but for a couple of years to come.
To that end, the organization decided to extend the contract of wide receiver Robby Anderson for an additional two years.
The additional two years tacked on to his current deal will be worth as much as an additional $29.5 million.
It’s a nice reward for a receiver whose signing was viewed as a dart throw by Carolina during the 2020 offseason.
I learned my lessons I re wrote my wrongs I paid for my karma now I’m living in my Destiny and focused on the best of me 🚀
— Robby Anderson (@chosen1ra) August 21, 2021
It’s an intriguing move for a franchise that may not finish higher than last in an ultra-competitive NFC South.
Carolina also took it upon themselves to exercise newly-acquired quarterback Sam Darnold’s fifth-year option, without ever seeing him play a down for them.
It’s clear that the Panthers have confidence in their scouting department, and their ability to develop players.
Whether these proactive actions will pay dividends this year will be something to monitor.
Anderson Career Summary
Anderson has been a bit of an enigma so far in his NFL career, but had his best season last year with the Panthers.
He started all 16 games, and recorded a career high 95 catches for 1,096 total yards.
His previous high water mark came in 2017 with the New York Jets, where he caught 63 balls for 941 yards.
There’s a chance that Anderson’s production in 2020 will be an outlier though, considering the circumstances the team went through last year.
All-world running back Christian McCaffrey missed the vast majority of the season last year with various injuries, which completely changed the attack for Carolina.
With McCaffrey back in the fold and presumably healthy, it will be tough for Anderson to command the 136 targets he did last year.
Not only did the former Temple pass-catcher set a career high in catches in 2020—he had a career low in yards per reception.
That’s important to note, because Anderson was being used more around the line of scrimmage in lieu of McCaffrey, and to play to Teddy Bridgewater’s strengths.
One thing Anderson does have going for him is his durability.
He has played in all 16 games in four out of five career seasons.
Carolina’s front office can feel confident in the fact that he’ll be a reliable component of the offense week in and week out, which may be another reason why the felt compelled to extend him now.
He has had a slight hamstring issue during training camp, but it doesn’t appear to be anything serious at this juncture.
While Anderson’s 2021 numbers may not blow anyone out of the water, he’ll still be a valuable piece of the Panthers offense.
— Ashley Nicole Moss (@AshNicoleMoss) August 5, 2021
Last year notwithstanding, his main contribution with the Jets was as a field stretcher.
From 2017-2019, he averaged just a whisker below 15 yards a catch, and Darnold will hope he can connect with his former Jets target deep on more than a few occasions with the Panthers.
In 25 career games where the two played together, Anderson has 88 catches for 1,353 yards, with 11 touchdowns.