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Former 1,000-Yard Receiver Staying In The NFC

The Cardinals have traded away their 2024 sixth-round pick and 2025 seventh-round pick to the Carolina Panthers in exchange for wide receiver Robbie Anderson, ESPN’s Adam Schefter reports.

The Cardinals lost a starting wide receiver to injury so they went and traded for another one. Robbie Anderson is now an Arizona Cardinal after being traded for two late-round picks. The Panthers need to begin the rebuild and moving on from Anderson is just the beginning. Will Anderson have an impact on the Cardinals? Only time will tell but for now, Kyler Murray has a new target.

Why The Cardinals Made The Trade

The deal makes sense for both sides. On the Cardinals’ end, they now owe Anderson’s “remaining $690,000 prorated portion of his base salary,” according to Tom Pelissero of NFL Network. From an asset standpoint, it was a low-risk trade for them that only involved late-round draft picks and not much salary to take on.

Star receiver DeAndre Hopkins is due back from suspension this week, but the Cardinals lost their other emerging star receiver in Marquise Brown to a foot injury, which seemed to have played a role in the decision to trade for Anderson. Brown is still going through testing to determine the extent of the injury. The good news is that his x-rays were negative, but he’s still expected to miss a significant portion of the season. We should get a better idea of the severity in the coming days, but the fact that the Cardinals made this trade for Anderson suggests that they are anticipating Brown to miss quite some time.

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Why The Panthers Made The Trade

The Panthers are currently 1-5 and are evidently in the midst of a retooling based on the moves they have recently made. Last week, they fired head coach Matt Rhule and defensive coordinator, Phil Snow. There have also been reports that they are at least taking calls on star running back Christian McCaffrey with the November 1st trade deadline approaching, according to NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport.

Robbie Anderson had a sideline confrontation in last week’s game against the Rams. Anderson got in the face of wide receivers coach Joe Dailey and then was told to leave the game by interim head coach Steve Wilks. Anderson did have that sideline altercation, but looking further into the numbers, this move appears to be a salary dump that likely would have happened regardless of the incident. The altercation simply sped up the process. Anderson had a substantial contract with a cap hit of $21.7 million that expired in 2023. The Panthers will still take on $10.2M in dead cap this year and $9.7M next year However, Arizona will shed roughly $12M next year by making the move to get off of his non-guaranteed money, per Michael Ginnitti of Spotrac.

What To Expect Of Anderson In Arizona

Once he gets integrated and familiar with the offense, Anderson could find himself starting alongside DeAndre Hopkins and Rondale Moore as a deep threat to stretch the offense. Anderson, 29 years old, has had sort of an up-and-down career so far in his seven seasons.

In 2020, Anderson had a breakout season with 1,096 receiving yards, 95 receptions, and three touchdowns. In 2021, he regressed to 519 receiving yards, 53 receptions, and five touchdowns. Six games into this year, Anderson has only 206 yards, 13 receptions, and one touchdown. While Anderson isn’t expected to go back to his 2020-form, his stats could definitely benefit from being paired with Kyler Murray and the Cardinals’ offense.

The promising stat is his yards per catch of 15.8 this year. He is a good enough deep threat to keep defenses honest and hopefully take some of that attention away from Hopkins and Moore underneath. Or, if defenses want to take Hopkins away and double-team him, Anderson can step up and make them pay deep. He gives the Cardinals’ offense another element that will make it harder for defenses to scheme for. With such a relatively low cost to acquire Robbie Anderson, it’s easy to see why the Cardinals went out to get him, especially after the news about Marquise Brown’s injury.

The Cardinals take on the New Orleans Saints on Thursday Night Football this week. This will be Anderson’s first chance to show he can make an impact. A change of scenery might be the perfect situation for Anderson to show he is worth the money.

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