The Carolina Panthers have come oh-so-close to a Super Bowl since their inception in 1995. They’ve won 6 division titles and went to the Super Bowl in 2003 and 2015 only to be stopped by the Patriots and Broncos.
That 2015 side was a special team that went 15-1, but since
then the Panthers have been very up and down. In 2018 they went just 7-9 thanks
in part to a terrible shoulder injury to quarterback Cam Newton.
They enter 2019 in a highly competitive division with a team that has talent but more than a few holes. Can you take over and finally bring the ultimate glory to the Panthers?
The Panthers come into franchise mode with a 79 OVR rating.
Which puts them 7th, tied with the likes of Baltimore, Seattle, and
Carolina are a very balanced side, with a 81 rating on both
offense and defense. That offensive score sits 11th in the league,
tied with three others so they are fairly average there. The defensive score is
on the higher side of the scale though. It comes in 5th and is tied
with five more.
On the face of it that makes the Panthers fairly average,
but there are very few teams as well-rounded and balanced as the Panthers are.
Luke Kuechly, Middle Linebacker (98 OVR)
Development Trait: Superstar X-Factor
Contract: 3 years/$40.16 million
2019 Cap Hit: $9.96 million
Best Stats: Play Recognition (99), Awareness (99),
Pursuit (97), Tackle (96), Hit Power (94), Block Shedding (89), Acceleration
(89), Speed (86)
The Carolina Panthers picked Luke Kuechly 9th overall in the 2012 draft and have been richly rewarded for it. Kuechly came
straight into the starting lineup as a rookie and was a dominant force, racking
up 165 tackles and 2 interceptions as he won Defensive Rookie of the Year. In
2013 Kuechly had 166, 4 interceptions and claimed Defensive Player of the Year
as well as his first of 5 First Team All-Pro berths.
In Madden 20 Kuechly is a superb player. He has elite play
recognition (99) and awareness (99) to diagnose plays. His
tackling (96) is amazing and his hit power (94) can force
fumbles. His zone coverage (83) is elite for the position too.
Christian McCaffrey, Half Back (91 OVR)
Development Trait: Superstar X-Factor
Contract: 2 years/$10.19 million
2019 Cap Hit: $4.7 million
Best Stats: Agility (97), Juke Move (93), Acceleration
(92), Spin Move (91), Elusiveness (91), Carrying (89), Short Route (82), Catching
Christian McCaffrey was taken 8th overall by the
Panthers in 2017. As a rookie he took just 117 carries for 435 yards, a poor
3.7 yards per carry average, but he caught 80 passes for 651 yards and 5
scores. In 2018 McCaffrey exploded though. A 5.0 yards per carry saw McCaffrey
hit 1,098 yards and make 107 catches for 867 yards as he found the endzone 13
In Madden 20 McCaffrey is an elite back. His catching (81) is the best at his position while his route running (82 short, 75
medium) is stellar too. McCaffrey has the tools to shake defenders with his
juke move (93), stiff arm (91) and elusiveness (91).
Gerald McCoy, Defensive End (86 OVR)
Development Trait: Star
Contract: 1 year/$8.44 million
2019 Cap Hit: $8.44 million
Best Stats: Strength (92), Play Recognition (92), Tackle
(91), Awareness (88), Hit Power (85), Pursuit (84), Power Moves (84),
Gerald McCoy was the third-overall pick for the Tampa Bay
Buccaneers in 2010 and has been a superb player since. In 9 seasons with the
Bucs he amassed 54.5 sacks, 140 QB hits, and 79 tackles for loss. In the
offseason he was cut for cap reasons and quickly signed with the Panthers so he
could get some revenge twice this season.
In Madden 20 McCoy can still get it done. His strength (92) and power moves (84) will be a problem for a lot of offensive linemen.
His play recognition (92) and awareness (88) will keep him in the
game while his tackling (91) and block shedding (85) means he
will make plays.
Cam Newton, Quarterback (84 OVR)
Development Trait: Superstar X-Factor
Contract: 2 years/$44.3 million
2019 Cap Hit: $23.2 million
Best Stats: Break Sack (95), Throw Power (93), Play
Action (93), Throw On Run (88), Short Accuracy (88), Acceleration (88),
The Panthers picked Cam Newton #1 in 2011. Cam started from
week 1 and threw for 4,051 yards and rushed for a massive 706 yards and 14
touchdowns as he claimed Offensive Rookie of the Year. Over the years Cam has
run less, but he is still a constant threat on the ground. Cam claimed MVP
honors in 2015 with 3,837 passing yards, 35 touchdowns, and an extra 10 scores
on the ground.
In Madden 20 Newton is a dual threat quarterback. He has good throw power (93) and can dominate with play
action (93) while his acceleration (88) and speed (85) will force defenses to account for him. His accuracy (88 short,
84 medium, 82 deep) isn’t ideal but you can certainly work with it.
Full Roster & Depth Chart
|Alex Armah Jr||67||82||77||58|
|Ray-Ray McCloud III||67||90||84||77||71||69|
|Greg Van Roten||62||67||68||54||79|
|Vernon Butler Jr||69||66||83||72||59||69|
|Jermaine Carter Jr||64||83||79||71||61||66|
|James Bradberry IV||79||91||80||78||81|
The Panthers roster has a lot of
talent across the board.
The offense is led by quarterback
Cam Newton (93 throw power, 88 short accuracy) but it will run through
running back Christian McCaffrey (97 agility, 93 juke move) who is a big
play threat any time he gets the ball.
The Panthers have some speedsters
on the outside with DJ Moore (93 speed, 88 spectacular catch) and Curtis
Samuel (95 speed, 83 catching) while Greg Olsen (93 catching, 84
speed) remains a threat at tight end.
The offensive line isn’t great,
but the pairing of center Matt Paradis (86 pass block, 82 run block) and
right guard Trai Turner (84 run block, 79 pass block) are your best blockers
so try to run behind them more often than not.
Defensively the Panthers are a
perfect user team thanks to their star middle linebacker Luke Kuechly (96
tackle, 89 block shed). In front of him the Panthers have a stout defensive
line featuring Gerald McCoy (92 strength, 85 block shed) and Kawann
Short (91 strength, 91 block shed).
The edge rush will come from Mario
Addison (85 acceleration, 82 finesse moves) and Bruce Irvin (88
acceleration, 73 power moves) while Shaq Thompson (87 tackle, 86 acceleration) is a solid partner for Kuechly in the middle.
The Panthers secondary is a little
thin, but cornerback Donte Jackson (96 speed, 81 man coverage) is a nice
player and the safety pairing of Tre Boston (89 acceleration, 84 zone coverage) and Eric Reid (91 acceleration, 79 zone coverage).
The Carolina Panthers come into
franchise mode with 55 players on the roster and $23.5 million in cap space.
That means you only need to cut 2 for the regular season so creating extra cap
space isn’t going to happen. However, the $23.5 million in space means you can go
out and make a move if you want to, just try to hold on to some cap space as
you will need it to re-sign some key players.
Impending Free Agents
The Panthers have 22 players on
their roster that are entering the last year of their contracts. That is a big
chunk of your roster and it includes some important players that you will miss
when they are gone. The likes of Gerald McCoy could be allowed to walk
due to his age but you will need to replace him. Who are the players that you
should prioritise re-signing after season 1?
James Bradberry IV, Cornerback (79 OVR)
The Panthers have just 4 corners on
their roster and three of them are impending free agents. That means you
absolutely have to retain #2 corner James Bradberry. His speed (91) and
man coverage (80) will keep him competitive and at 26 he can still improve.
Tre Boston, Free Safety (79 OVR)
Tre Boston is a very solid free
safety, something that can be very hard to find. With good speed (87) and
zone coverage (84) he can make plays while his catching (75) and
hit power (88) will create turnovers. Boston is just 27 and has star development
so he can still improve too.
Retaining him and Bradberry will
at least keep the secondary respectable while you try to draft or sign some new
talent to take it up a notch.
Daryl Williams, Left Tackle (79 OVR)
Another mid-20’s player you need
to hold on to is left tackle Daryl Williams. The Panthers offensive line needs
an upgrade, but Williams is a strong (87) player who is well balanced
between run (84) and pass (84) blocking. If you find an upgrade
at left tackle you can slide Williams into the huge hole at left guard, but
re-signing Williams means you aren’t desperate to take a tackle high in the draft
and can take aim at the best player available instead.
Shaq Thompson, Middle Linebacker (78 OVR)
Thompson is a nice second
linebacker next to Kuechly. He has good speed (85) and tackling (87) but
his coverage skills are not great (55 zone, 48 man). However, a nice
tactic here is to control Thompson while letting Kuechly work. Thanks to his
athleticism he is a very good user linebacker and shouldn’t be too expensive to
The Panthers are set at a couple
of key Madden positions like quarterback, running back, and middle linebacker,
but around that the roster does need some improvement.
The offensive line needs a new
left guard in the worst way, while Greg Olsen is now 34 and will need a replacement
soon. There is also very little depth behind Christian McCaffrey so adding
another back would help you lighten his load and lessen the injury risk.
Defensively the Panthers are
pretty thin despite a few stars. They need better edge rush to contain and
attack quarterbacks, and the secondary is paper thin.
Finding a top cornerback should
be your prior in the offseason, be that via trade, free agency, or the draft.
But you shouldn’t stop at adding 1. You should look to take someone who can
start and then find another two that can be role players. You need to fill out
that depth chart because you’ll be playing with 3 on the field most of the
Only once that position is fixed
should you be hunting after improvements at the offensive line and edge
Running backs are pretty easy to
find late in the draft so you shouldn’t need to invest too heavily there.