The Carolina Panthers are officially in the wide receiver market amid a rough 0-3 start to the season.
The franchise is looking for another option for rookie quarterback Bryce Young to work with alongside leading targets Adam Thielen and DJ Chark, NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport reported Sunday.
Thielen (25 catches, 211 yards, two TDs) and Chark (12 catches, 101 yards, one TD) are the Panthers’ only two receiving targets over 100 yards through the first three games. Who are some potential trade targets Carolina could pursue?
Potential WR Targets for the Carolina Panthers
Jerry Jeudy, Denver Broncos
Jerry Jeudy is one intriguing option from a Broncos squad that has also started slow at 0-3 and could soon look to begin moving players.
Denver has four wide receivers with over 100 receiving yards through the first three games of the season, including Jeudy, despite him missing the team’s Week 1 contest. Marvin Mims Jr. (nine catches, 195 yards, one TD), Courtland Sutton (17 catches, 189 yards, two TDs), and Brandon Johnson (six catches, 109 yards, two TDs) have all been solid, perhaps making it easier for the Broncos to move on from Jeudy.
The 2020 first-round pick has shown flashes of reaching his potential through his first three NFL seasons. He caught 67 passes for 972 yards and six touchdowns in 2022, his most productive tally yet, and has eight catches for 106 yards so far this year.
Still, he has battled some early injury issues this season and could add more value to Denver in a trade rather than on the field, given their relative depth at the position.
All of that makes him a potentially palatable target for Carolina.
Chase Claypool, Chicago Bears
Chase Claypool has not found much traction during his first full season with Chicago after joining the franchise midway through last year at the trade deadline.
The fourth-year wide receiver, who the Pittsburgh Steelers drafted in the second round of the 2020 NFL Draft, has just four catches for 51 yards and one touchdown on 14 targets this season. This is a far cry from his pair of 800+ yard seasons in 2020 and 2021 with the Steelers.
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He was already down last year from those first two campaigns at a combined 46 catches for 451 yards and one touchdown between Pittsburgh and Chicago, but he’s certainly a player with more upside than he has shown thus far this season.
Claypool seems to have fallen out of favor with the Bears, as he was a healthy scratch in Week 4, which could make him fairly easy to acquire for the Panthers.
JuJu Smith-Schuster, New England Patriots
At just 10 catches for 66 yards, JuJu Smith-Schuster has not emerged among the Patriots’ top targets through his first three games with the franchise.
The veteran receiver is not far removed from racking up 78 catches for 933 yards and three touchdowns, his best season since going for 111 catches, 1,426 yards, and seven touchdowns in 2018 with the Steelers. Still, some injury concerns and not exactly impressing early in New England seem to have put him out of favor to this point.
Given his low status with the Patriots currently, Smith-Schuster could be a somewhat cheap option with upside for Carolina.
DJ Moore, Chicago Bears
DJ Moore would be one of the more ironic trade options for the Panthers, given the fact that the Panthers traded him to the Bears this offseason so they could grab the number one pick in the 2023 NFL Draft.
The former first-round pick leads the Bears in receiving through three games with 11 catches for 170 yards and one touchdown. However, things aren’t going well in the Windy City, and you can never say never in the NFL, regardless of how crazy this trade would sound.
The Panthers had to make this trade so they could select Bryce Young, but they also may not have realized how good they had it with Moore, who had more than 1,000 receiving yards each year from 2019 through 2021 and at least 788 yards in all five seasons with the franchise.
Bringing him back at the right price could be attractive to Carolina, assuming both sides are amenable to a reunion.