NFL wide receiver Robbie Anderson is moving from the Carolina Panthers to the Arizona Cardinals, but it remains to be seen how he fits into the depth chart.
Once Panthers coach Steve Wilkes sent Robbie Anderson into the locker room, spectators expected Anderson’s rumored trading schedule to accelerate at the speed of light. There was no way Anderson found his way back onto the field after his coaches blatantly disdained and distanced himself from his teammates, and it is true that the trade rumors turned out to be true the next day.
In less than 24 hours, the Panthers sent Anderson packages to a willing business partner: the Arizona Cardinals. The Panthers accepted an “undisclosed compensation project for Anderson,” according to the NFL Network Nick Shock.
While details remain unknown, what can be ascertained is how the Cardinals will be able to deploy Anderson in the coming weeks.
How does Robbie Anderson fit into the Cardinals’ depth chart after trading the Panthers?
On the surface, seeing Anderson sent to Glendale and paired with Kyler Murray appears to be a disproportionate win for the 29-year-old’s wide receiver. After all, Anderson struggled in his 2021 season with the Panthers, and his arguments with coaches seemed to hurt any trade issue. There wasn’t much to tempt teams to start with, so why would the Cardinals fire up Anderson right away?
In fact, the Cardinals struggled 2-4 over the first six weeks of the season, losing to the Seattle Seahawks 19-9 on Sunday. What’s worse is that in that loss, the Cardinals also lost wide receiver Marquis Brown to a foot injury. Brown may be out until the end of the 2022 season.
This news may have pressured the Cardinals to pull the trigger in trading for Anderson much sooner.
Without Brown for the foreseeable future, here’s who the Cardinals extensively own according to them depth chart:
- DeAndre Hopkins
- Rondell Mor
- AJ Green
- Greg Dorch
- Javon Wims
Hopkins lifted the six-week suspension in week seven, and Anderson is currently being pushed behind him. Anderson will have to take at least a week to catch up with the new rules of the game in order to make any impact on the field, but it looks like once he’s on board, he’ll be welcomed into the team that desperately needs depth in the center.
In Sunday’s game against the Seahawks, Zach Ertz led the team into receptions. Rondale Moore was just behind Ertz with six receptions for a total of 49 yards, and Brown arrested five receptions for 68 yards. Green caught two receptions for seven yards because he still didn’t factor in the offense—really, it was Brown, Moore, and Ertz.
Hopkins out of suspension and 2021 season negligence due to injuryBut he will come fresh, ready to steak in the field and re-establish his relationship with Kyler Murray.
The running situation also affects how Anderson adapts to Cliff Kingsbury’s attack. James Conner and Daryl Williams both exited, leaving Eno Benjamin and Keauntai Ingram. Benjamin scored twice on Sunday, but the limited running game will likely mean the Cardinals will rely more on passing.
In the past, Anderson was known as a deep threat receiver due to how he was often used with aircraft.
“I know he had that title for just being a deep guy,” said Carolina coach Matt Rolle in 2020. ESPN. “But he has a unique ability to track the ball. He is brave to catch the ball underneath. His hunting and running skills are superb.”
That was probably the system he was in,” Teddy Bridgewater said at the time. “You know how this league works. When you are ranked one way, it travels with you.”
Murray loves to throw the ball deep, but Anderson’s ability to traverse the middle on diagonal roads and split opposing defenses could provide safety for Murray in key third-tier transfers. However, Anderson can run fast for deep passes, but his ability to do it all could allow the Cardinals to be less predictable with Hopkins and Anderson lining up.
Although Anderson’s time with the Panthers came to a bitter end, there are strong factors that make his case in Arizona all the more compelling. Anderson needs a fresh start, and so do the Cardinals. If Anderson can tap into his 1,000-yard potential, it could be a win for everyone involved.