Panthers won't entertain Russell Wilson free agency sweepstakes, new head coach says
Panthers won't entertain Russell Wilson free agency sweepstakes, new head coach says
Carolina Panthers new head coach Dave Canales is already making his team's intentions clear when it comes to the Russell Wilson sweepstakes in free agency.
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You can mark one NFL team that won’t be chasing after Russell Wilson when he becomes a free agent on March 13. 

Carolina Panthers head coach Dave Canales, making an appearance on the "Up & Adams" show with Kay Adams, is already taking his new team out of the potential sweepstakes that could be coming when the Denver Broncos release Wilson following his tumultuous two seasons with the team. 

"This is not the situation for Russ," Canales said bluntly. 


Dave Canales smiles at podium

Head coach Dave Canales of the Carolina Panthers speaks to the media during the NFL Combine at the Indiana Convention Center on February 27, 2024 in Indianapolis, Indiana.  (Stacy Revere/Getty Images)

Canales has a history with Wilson, as his coaching career in the NFL mostly comes with the Seattle Seahawks — the team Wilson won a Super Bowl with and led an offense with from 2012-2021 before being traded to the Broncos. 

Canales joined the Seahawks in 2010 and was there through the 2022 season, where he helped Geno Smith, Wilson’s successor, become the NFL Comeback Player of the Year. 

Canales moved on to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers to become their new offensive coordinator in 2023, and after a successful season with Baker Mayfield leading his squad, he took the head coaching vacancy with the Panthers. 


While Wilson has caught a lot of flak since the Broncos announced their intentions to move on and eat millions left on his contract, Canales gave props to the man he used to work with closely.

"What I will say about him is taking that chance and that opportunity to go to Denver, I really admire him for that," he said. "I really admire the courage it took to say, ‘I’m gonna branch out away from what I’m comfortable with.’ 

"Certainly guys like me who was with him for all 10 years and the level of comfort that comes — I know exactly what he wants, he needs, what he’s gonna ask for. I can anticipate those things. He really gambled on himself to go and try to do something a different way to see what that can become. What it’s become, hey, the film’s out there, but I really credit him for that."

Dave Canales talks to the media

Dave Canales answers a question at a press conference introducing him as the new head coach for the Carolina Panthers NFL football team in Charlotte, N.C., Thursday, Feb. 1, 2024.  (AP Photo/Nell Redmond)

Canales’ initial answer to Adams here is expected considering the Panthers just took Bryce Young No. 1 overall in last year’s NFL Draft. He had a very rocky start to his career, going 2-14 with 2,877 yards passing, 11 touchdowns and 10 interceptions. 

The Panthers are a tremendous work in progress, but they’re clearly focused on Young’s development as their franchise quarterback. Owner David Tepper believes Canales, who was an outside-the-box hire to many, is the man that can help Young reach his full potential. 

As for Wilson, there are many quarterback-needy teams in the NFL that could be aggressive for his services next season. He said recently on the "I AM ATHLETE" podcast that he does have the desire to win more Super Bowls before calling it quits for his career. 

Teams like the Atlanta Falcons, Minnesota Vikings and more may be in the running for Wilson when the new league year begins on March 13. The Broncos are also reportedly allowing Wilson to contact teams now to get a headstart on free agency. 

Russell Wilson leads the charge

Russell Wilson #3 of the Denver Broncos waits to lead teammates onto the field for a preseason game against the San Francisco 49ers at Levi's Stadium on August 19, 2023 in Santa Clara, California. (Loren Elliott/Getty Images)


The Panthers will look elsewhere with their money this offseason, though. 

Scott Thompson is a sports writer for Fox News Digital.

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