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Panthers signing former Saints QB Andy Dalton to two-year, $11 million contract

The Panthers have found a veteran leader for their quarterback room ahead of the 2023 NFL Draft.

Carolina is signing former Saints quarterback Andy Dalton to a two-year, $11 million contract with $8 million guaranteed, NFL Network Insiders Ian Rapoport and Tom Pelissero reported on Tuesday.

Mired in mediocrity while churning through other veteran options like Sam Darnold, Baker Mayfield and even a brief return to Cam Newton in the last two seasons, the Panthers inking Dalton to a deal strikes a far different tone this time around.

Carolina almost certainly has its sights set on a quarterback of the future thanks to a blockbuster trade with the Bears that netted it the No. 1 overall pick in the upcoming draft.

Rather than requiring the 35-year-old Dalton, a three-time Pro Bowler, to turn the clock back and elevate the club to postseason contender, the Panthers will instead ask him to serve as a mentor and potentially a stopgap ahead of a rookie signal-caller like C.J. Stroud, Bryce Young or Anthony Richardson.

The former second-rounder is joining his fourth team in as many years after spending his first nine seasons as a Bengal. In 14 games as New Orleans' starter in 2022, Dalton threw for 2,871 yards, 18 touchdowns and nine interceptions with a 6-8 record.

He has 38,150 career passing yards with 244 TDs and 144 INTs in 166 games.

Whether Dalton ends up holding a clipboard for the entirety of the season or is pressed into action to add to those numbers at some point in 2023, Carolina will reap the benefits of having an all-important veteran presence in its QB room.