Grade the Trade: Carolina Panthers Ship Malcontent Robbie Anderson to Arizona Cardinals

The Carolina Panthers traded WR Robbie Anderson to the Arizona Cardinals after his sideline blowup in Week 6. Let's grade the trade!

Less than 24 hours after Robbie Anderson got into an argument with his position coach and was subsequently banished to the locker room, the Carolina Panthers have traded the veteran wide receiver to the Arizona Cardinals. Carolina sent Anderson to Arizona for a 2024 sixth-round pick and a 2025 seventh-round pick, per ESPN’s Adam Schefter.

Cardinals Acquire WR Robbie Anderson From Panthers

As soon as the Panthers fired head coach Matt Rhule following their Week 5 loss, speculation arose that Carolina would begin a firesale.

Anderson’s public blowup made this deal easier for the Panthers, and this probably won’t be the final trade Carolina makes before the Nov. 1 deadline.

Let’s grade the trade.

Arizona Cardinals

The Cardinals posted their worst offensive performance of the season on Sunday, managing only three points against a Seahawks defense that had been getting regularly gashed. Arizona’s offense ranks just 20th in EPA per play through six games.

DeAndre Hopkins is scheduled to return from his six-game suspension when the Cardinals face the Saints on Thursday Night Football. However, Marquise Brown is set to miss roughly six weeks after suffering a foot injury in Week 6, Ian Rapoport of NFL Media reported Monday. Arizona likely felt as though it had to do something — anything — to get its offense going.

On the plus side, Anderson is affordable. The Cardinals will only absorb about $690K by taking him on for the rest of the season, and they can cut him next spring without incurring any dead money. And while he’s not as talented as Brown, Anderson can provide a rough facsimile of Brown’s speed threat.

Still, it’s nearly laughable to think that Anderson — who has averaged 32 receiving yards per game over his past season-plus — will become an instant salve for this ailing Cardinals offense. Instead, he looks like yet another past-his-prime addition that general manager Steve Keim can’t seem to stop making.

Grade: C-

Carolina Panthers

Good on the Panthers for getting anything for a player who was essentially ejected by his own team. Anderson seemed more like a release candidate than a trade candidate after that incident.

By moving on from Anderson, Carolina will take on roughly $9.7 million in dead money in 2023. That’s obviously not ideal for a rebuilding team that is already projected to be $11+ million over the cap in 2023, but it still represents a cap savings of $12 million.

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Even if the Panthers plan to keep some of their assets to lure a new head coach, Anderson didn’t fit in with that cadre. He’s already 29 years old, so he wasn’t in Carolina’s long-term plans.

By trading Anderson now, the Panthers can get a better look at 2021 second-round pick Terrace Marshall Jr., who played 56 total snaps in Weeks 5 and 6 after seeing only six snaps over the first month of the season.

Grade: A-

Robbie Anderson

Yes, Anderson is joining a disjointed offense, but he’s leaving behind the worst offensive and quarterback situation in the NFL. Anderson gets to upgrade from Baker Mayfield/P.J. Walker/Jacob Eason/Sam Darnold to Kyler Murray.

With Brown out, Anderson will likely be the third option in Arizona’s passing game behind Hopkins and Zach Ertz. He could also fall behind Rondale Moore. Having said that, Anderson will likely see more benefit from being a tertiary receiver in the Cardinals’ offense than he would have as the No. 2 WR in Carolina’s offense.

Grade: B

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