Carolina Panthers sent wide receiver Robbie Anderson to the locker room for all to see, but the fracture has plenty of background beyond the in-game moment.
Viewers of the Los Angeles Rams versus Carolina Panthers matchup were subject to some second-hand embarrassment, but it had nothing to do with how much these teams were struggling in Week 6.
During the game, Anderson was seen arguing with Panthers wide receivers coach Joe Dailey.
Eventually, Anderson was sent to the locker room by Panthers head coach Steve Wilkes.
Field Yates offered context to what was seen on the Panthers sideline.
The result has rekindled trade rumors involving Anderson, as apparently, Christian McCaffrey isn’t the only players for which the Panthers are fielding trade offers.
This follows a report Jay Glazer did before the game, offering context as to why the Panthers were considering parting ways with Anderson before Week 6.
Glazer’s report offers insight into why Anderson was being shopped around, why he may have been frustrated against the Rams, and why it all likely came to a head in what may be Anderson’s last game in Charlotte.
Robbie Anderson’s frustration with Carolina Panthers, explained
The 29-year-old Anderson went undrafted in 2016, but he was eventually picked up by the New York Jets and worked his way up to a starting role. When Anderson hit free agency in 2020, he signed a two-year, $20 million deal with the Panthers. What’s notable here is that the former Temple wideout was reunited with former Temple coach Matt Rhule.
After the best season of his career in 2020, the Panthers signed Anderson to a two-year extension worth $29.5 million. In 2021, Anderson’s production was cut in half: 53 receptions to 95 the previous year, and 519 receiving yards to 1,096 yards in 2020. It didn’t help that D.J. Moore caught a career-high 93 receptions for 1,157 yards in 2021 for a lot less money.
With Matt Rhule gone, so was the Temple connection, which brought Anderson’s atrocious play under even more scrutiny. It makes sense that the Panthers would be interested in trading him, especially when he has failed to deliver ever since he inked his costly extension.
Anderson did have a big game in Week 1, hauling in five receptions for 102 yards, but he hasn’t broken 32 receiving yards in any subsequent games. It’s unacceptable for someone earning about $15 million per year.
In Week 5, Anderson caught one of five targets for 32 yards. It was the longest offensive play of the game, but Anderson’s hardly a must-start in fantasy, which again calls his extension into question.
As many onlookers have theorized, arguing with coaches on the sideline and sitting away from the team represented a breaking point.
Although a great deal remains unclear, the sideline situation was reminiscent of what NFL fans saw when Antonio Brown decided to end his own NFL career by sending himself to the locker room.
In hindsight, Anderson’s avid support for Rhule may offer preliminary insight into why his current coaches weren’t as keen on utilizing him. Anderson had no receptions in Week 6, and it’s possible that whatever Rhule saw in Anderson influenced the organization to hand him the bag for one 1,000-yard season.
Anderson likely didn’t win Panthers fans over when he criticized them for a perceived lack of loyalty. PanthersWire’s Anthony Rizzuti shared a key statement that illustrates how close Anderson was to Rhule:
“I’m playing this game for Coach Rhule, more than anything,”“He’s getting a lot of blame that it’s not him. But we know, as a team, that he’s telling us what we need to do. He can’t coach and play. He’s not out there to make us do the simple things he’s been put in this position to do. So you know what I’m sayin’? I’m playing this game for him.”
If Anderson was playing solely for Rhule, seeing him argue against his current coaches without Rhule in his corner offers limited insight into why fans saw Anderson react the way he did.
As many have said, if Robbie Anderson wasn’t on the trading block before, he certainly is now.