Ranking All Carolina Panthers Quarterbacks in Franchise History
When you think of Carolina Panthers quarterbacks, Cam Newton is likely the first player who comes to mind. The Auburn product is the only man in franchise history with an MVP trophy on his mantle, earned during a spectacular 2015 season in which he threw for 35 touchdowns, rushed for another 10, and steered his squad all the way to the Super Bowl, where the Denver Broncos ended the dream season with a 24-10 victory.
Maybe that will change soon, though.
Bryce Young, the No. 1 overall pick of the 2023 NFL Draft and in possession of a massive rookie contract, is looking to make a name of his own and claw his way up a leaderboard that features Newton, Steve Beuerlein, Jake Delhomme, and all the rest of the qualified options — just maybe not in the order you’re expecting.
The Panthers joined the NFL as an expansion team in 1995 and dropped an overtime contest to the Atlanta Falcons to open their history. Frank Reich took the first snaps for the franchise, completing 23 of 44 passes for 329 yards and two touchdowns (although the Falcons also sacked him nine times for 68 yards). Since then, 28 more signal-callers have joined the ranks, combining for six Pro Bowl appearances.
Will Young add to that total? Only time will tell.
Using the Total Yards Added (TYA) metric I developed for QB Math, which evaluates quarterbacks’ success relative to league average in four facets of the game — rushing, passing, sack avoidance, and fumble avoidance — we’re highlighting each and every one of the 30 Carolina Panthers quarterbacks with at least one qualified game for the organization since ’66. These rankings will be updated continuously and are accurate heading into Week 2 of the 2023 NFL season.
Carolina Panthers quarterbacks Nos. 30-6
|Franchise Rank||Quarterback||Qualified Games||Total Yards Added|
|12||Brian St. Pierre||1||-92.214|
Keep in mind that this is about career production.
Playing in more games usually means moving further away from the league-average score of zero, which is why Kerry Collins — objectively not the least-talented of the Carolina Panthers quarterbacks — falls all the way to the bottom of the pack despite having a far superior per-game output to other low finishers such as Chris Weinke, Jimmy Clausen, and Kyle Allen.
5. Teddy Bridgewater
- Years: 2020
- Stats: 4-11 record, 340-of-492 (69.1%), 3,733 yards, 15 TD, 11 INT
- Total Yards Added: 58.04
Teddy Bridgewater displayed plenty of promise early in his career before a devastating leg injury all but ended his shot at functioning as the Minnesota Vikings’ franchise quarterback. Nearly a half-decade later, he got another shot at a full-time starting job with the Carolina Panthers and showed flashes of that earlier potential.
Though he could only lead the outfit to four wins in 15 starts, he recorded 15 touchdowns to 11 interceptions and completed nearly 70% of his passes.
4. Derek Anderson
- Years: 2011-17
- Stats: 2-2 record, 111-of-168 (66.1%), 1,265 yards, 7 TD, 5 INT
- Total Yards Added: 94.332
Derek Anderson spent seven seasons with the Panthers and started just four games, but he made the most of the meager opportunies he’d received after his flash-in-the-pan years with the Cleveland Browns.
He was particularly effective in 2014, winning both of his spot starts and throwing five touchdowns with nary an interception. Anderson never produced anything more than the smallest of samples, but at least those added up over his near-decade with the organization.
3. Cam Newton
- Years: 2011-19, 2021
- Stats: 68-60-1 record, 2,440-of-4,106 (59.5%), 29,725 yards, 186 TD, 113 INT
- Total Yards Added: 127.412
At his best, Cam Newton was, perhaps indisputably, the most talented of all Carolina Panthers quarterbacks. His 2015 efforts are certainly among the top in franchise history as he won MVP, led the team to 15 wins and a spot in the Super Bowl, and put up some mind-numbing dual-threat statistics.
But when Newton’s throwing shoulder wasn’t fully operational, defenses had an easier time keying in on his ground game and prevented him from playing the most efficient football. Of his 10 seasons with the Panthers, only four graded out as above-average years by TYA — and 2013 barely qualified as such.
That’s why his lifetime score is closer to breakeven even if he submitted the Nos. 2-4 individual-season scores in franchise history.
2. Jake Delhomme
- Years: 2003-09
- Stats: 53-37 record, 1,580-of-2,669 (59.2%), 19,258 yards, 120 TD, 89 INT
- Total Yards Added: 896.395
Jake Delhomme went undrafted out of Southwestern Louisiana in 1997 and didn’t land with the Carolina Panthers until 2003. He started only two NFL games between those dates, instead suiting up in NFL Europe and failing to land any better gigs than a back-of-the-depth chart spot with the New Orleans Saints.
Then Delhomme put together one of the most unfathomable campaigns in NFL history.
The Panthers had won eight total games over the previous two seasons, but they went a staggering 11-5 with Delhomme under center, then won three more contests in the playoffs before falling 32-29 to the New England Patriots in an unforgettable Super Bowl 38.
Delhomme kept getting better over the next three seasons, culminating in a Pro Bowl appearance in 2005. But as solid as his seven-year stint may have been, that first go-round will always take center stage.
1. Steve Beuerlein
- Years: 1996-2000
- Stats: 23-28 record, 1,041-of-1,723 (60.4%), 12,690 yards, 86 TD, 50 INT
- Total Yards Added: 970.394
Believe it or not, Steve Beuerlein, not Cam Newton, has the top individual-season TYA score among all Carolina Panthers quarterbacks.
During his Pro Bowl 1999 efforts, he completed 343 of 571 passes for 4,436 yards, 36 touchdowns, and 15 interceptions, pacing the NFL in both total passing yards and passing yards per game. Though he was never a particularly mobile signal-caller, he also added 124 yards and two scores with his legs, resulting in the only 1,000-plus TYA in Panthers history.
Beuerlein played below-average football for the remainder of his Panthers tenure, but that one season does a lot of heavy lifting in this particular competition.