Panthers leave wagon hitched to Delhomme

Posted by ESPN.com's Pat Yasinskas
Carolina fans, it's time to start loving the quarterback you love to hate.

In a move that's not likely to sit well with his many detractors, Jake Delhomme was given a new five-year contract Thursday. It's worth $42.5 million and includes $20 million in guaranteed money.

Consider that final proof -- as they said all along -- that the Panthers are committed to Delhomme. Also, consider it proof that they weren't sniffing around J.P. Losman, despite some reports to the contrary.

Ever since Delhomme threw five interceptions in a playoff loss to Arizona, a lot of people were assuming the Panthers would bring in another quarterback and dump Delhomme. But none of those people were coach John Fox and general manager Marty Hurney.

Like it or not, they have, and always have had, a strong sense of loyalty to Delhomme. The new deal makes that stronger than ever and it's now a safe bet the Panthers won't be drafting a quarterback this weekend.

They're sticking with Josh McCown and Matt Moore as the backups. More than ever, they're sticking with Delhomme as the starter.

If that plan works out, great. If not, blame Fox and Hurney. They could have elected to listen to popular opinion and gone in a different the direction. They didn't.

One way or another, the decision to leave the wagon hitched to Delhomme is going to write a very important chapter in the history of this regime.