Carolina Panthers mailbag

The Carolina Panthers are next in today’s series of team-by-team mailbags.

JM in Charlotte writes: In hindsight, do you think the Panthers made a mistake by drafting Jimmy Clausen? Would they have been better off going with Colt McCoy instead?

Pat Yasinskas: I don’t think it’s fair to declare Clausen a bust just yet. Yes, McCoy’s had some early success and Clausen hasn’t. But picture McCoy with the Panthers. Would the results be any different? I doubt it. I think any quarterback would struggle with what Carolina has on the offense. The offensive line has been bad, the running game hasn’t been anywhere close to what it should be and the receivers haven’t been consistent.

Michael in Cary, N.C., writes: You've mentioned several times before how much respect you have for Jerry Richardson, so I loved it when you put him on the list of people's who stock is falling. I just don't understand what he's done to endear any level of respect.

Pat Yasinskas: Let me emphasize that I still have tremendous respect for Richardson and what he's done through the years. But I also realize his stock is falling with Carolina fans because of what’s happened to the Panthers this year. That’s understandable and I’m sure Richardson has his reasons for going the route he has. But he hasn’t explained that route to fans and we have yet to see any sort of upside from the youth movement. I think Richardson’s running the risk of isolating a fan base he’s worked hard to build.

Evan in Charlotte writes: Do you think the Panthers would ever trade DeAngelo Williams for a first round pick? I like him as a player and person but the Panthers are in free-fall. Same question with Steve Smith, a second rounder wouldn't be out of the question would it?

Pat Yasinskas: The problem with trading Williams is he’s not under contract beyond this season. The Panthers would have to re-sign him before they’d even be able to trade him. If they don’t re-sign him, Williams could walk into free agency without the Panthers getting any compensation. As far as Smith, I think a second-round pick would be a possibility. But I think whoever the new coach is would have to decide if the team wants to keep Smith, who still might be the team’s best offensive player.

Haile in Durham, N.C., writes: Do you think that Jerry Richardson and Marty Hurney are sad they didn't sign Michael Vick? Vick is a gem now.

Pat Yasinskas: Yes, Vick is doing a tremendous job for the Eagles. But I know for a fact Richardson wasn’t willing to take a chance on Vick, so he was never a consideration. Besides, even if Richardson allowed the Panthers to pursue Vick, do you really think John Fox and offensive coordinator Jeff Davidson would have pursued him? Although it’s part of the reason for his downfall, Fox is a creature of habit. He wasn’t going to change his entire offense to accommodate Vick’s strengths.