When the Panthers traded for cornerback CJ Henderson last week, the message was that the Panthers hoped that a change of scenery could lead the 2020 first-round pick to blossom into the player he failed to become with the Jaguars.
Trading for cornerback Stephon Gilmore sent a very different message. Gilmore was the 2019 defensive player of the year and he’s not signed beyond the 2021 season, so the idea is for him to provide an immediate boost to the 3-1 team’s chances of contending. It was a message received by the team’s players.
Cornerback Donte Jackson said “they’re confident we can win right now” and defensive lineman DaQuan Jones said he thinks everyone in the building believes that’s the case. Quarterback Sam Darnold had a similar response.
“We’re ready to win now,” Darnold said, via Darin Gantt of the team’s website. “I think that’s the biggest thing. We’re all aware, we can win games, and we’re capable of doing that. So that’s really the message it sends.”
Gilmore won’t be eligible to play for the Panthers until Week Seven and it’s clear that the expectation in Carolina will be for him to hit the ground running.