While the Trade Deadline did not exactly live up to the hype, November 11th delivered in a big way with 2 major moves for 2 very well-known names. TRO is here to break down each one:
via Carolina Panthers
THERE'S NO PLACE LIKE HOME:
via Grant Halverson / Getty Images
Superman is coming back home to try to save the day. This is one of the biggest headlines the NFL has had in a long time. It's unheard of for such a prolific player, coming off of what was an ugly breakup, return to his franchise less than 2 years later. It is absolutely amazing. Newton is vaccinated, so he can join the team almost immediately. While he won't be ready to suit up for Sunday's road trip to Arizona, he certainly should be starting back home in Bank of America Stadium against his former coach and the Washington Football Team. That place is going to be absolutely electric as the greatest player in franchise history makes his way out the tunnel again - a sight Panthers fans thought they'd never see again. It is great to see the Panthers' front office and ownership set aside pride, flat out admit they were wrong, and work to mend fences with someone like Newton who gave Charlotte everything he had on and off the field. This is essentially unheard of in sports, where egos and millions (or billions depending which side look from) are involved.
From a football standpoint, this move makes the most sense for Carolina. They have a playoff-caliber, top-notch defense, that has started to be wasted away due to the play of its quarterback and offensive line. You have to feel bad for Sam Darnold, but his play unfortunately was sucking the life and soul out of this Panthers team. Players were visibly frustrated on the sidelines, fans were losing interest, hemorrhaging tickets to away fans as Darnold's inability to move the ball for the offense (or keep it away from the other team) was erasing everything their defense was doing. The Panthers were spiraling out of the playoff conversation, leaving everyone to wonder how long their defense would hold up with the offensive side of the ball not doing them any favors.
With Sam Darnold dealing with a shoulder injury, the Panthers placed him on injured reserve to give him time to clear his head, and to evaluate what they had in PJ Walker, or some other quarterback. Enter the best Free Agent quarterback available: Cameron Jerrell Newton. This is a win-win situation for Carolina, either: 1) Newton is more productive than Darnold and the Panthers are more competitive offensively and fun to watch, potentially landing them a Wild Card spot (the final 2 spots are held by New Orleans and Atlanta - both teams Carolina has already beaten) in an NFC that is top-heavy, leaving the remaining playoff spots completely up for grabs; or 2) Newton does not deliver from a production standpoint, the Panthers continue to travel down the path they were already on, but this time they won't be boring to watch, and at the very least fans can rest happy knowing that they mended fences, bringing home the most impactful player in franchise history.
If the first option pans out (which we are inclined to think it will), then Newton can be brought back for another year or 2, or until he is ready to retire, and the Panthers can select a rookie quarterback that Newton can help groom potentially saving the franchise from dreaded quarterback purgatory. Either way, everyone will be watching, and David Tepper has found a way to keep black and blue in his stadium seats.
THE STARS ALIGN IN LOS ANGELES:
via Joseph Maiorana / USA TODAY Sports
One of the biggest stories since before the trade deadline was where will Odell Beckham, Jr. end up? After failing to trade OBJ, the Browns released the superstar receiver. He then cleared waivers, and OBJ had his pick from a handful of contending teams for him to take his talents to. Reports were conflicting, was it the Packers? Was it the Rams? Was it somewhere else? Was he going to make his decision this week or wait until after Week 10's games? All that came to an end today, just a few hours after the Cam Newton news broke.
The search is over, OBJ has decided to play for the Los Angeles Rams. From a geographical standpoint, Los Angeles is the perfect place for Odell, a vibrant superstar. From a football standpoint, he just lodged himself smack in the middle of one of the most potent passing offenses in the League. Matthew Stafford will have his pick of the litter throwing to Cooper Kupp, Robert Woods, and Odell Beckham, Jr. You won't be able to double anyone on that offense, and they will continue to expose defenses with deep bombs left and right.
The Rams continue look more like an astrological sign as they pile on the stars just a little over a week after trading for Von Miller. They are in win-now mode, and have one of the most complete and best rosters in all of football. There are no real weak points in this roster on either side of the ball. The Rams are currently +750 to win the Super Bowl (3rd best). Whatever happens, it will be good seeing Odell finally back in the playoffs.
Odell certainly seems happy about his decision.