I wouldn’t go reading this as a sign that the Panthers are ready to give up on Brandon LaFell and David Gettis and automatically pop Murphy into the starting spot opposite Steve Smith. I think this move is more about providing some more competition for LaFell and Gettis. Let’s face the facts: Murphy isn’t some veteran with some gaudy stats. He’s only 25 and has spent three seasons in the NFL with mixed results.
He had 41 catches for 609 yards in 2010, but slipped to 15 catches for 241 yards while appearing in only 11 games last season. All indications are the Panthers were happy with what they saw out of LaFell in the offseason. They’re also happy with the progress Gettis has made as he returns from injury. Carolina also drafted receiver Joe Adams. And the Panthers have Kealoha Pilares and Armanti Edwards.
I think they’ll throw LaFell, Murphy and Gettis out there in camp and the preseason and see who steps up and earns the starting job. The trade isn’t bad news for LaFell or Gettis, but it is for Edwards. This is yet another sign that the Panthers are ready to give up on a player they once thought could make the transition from college quarterback to NFL receiver.