Why D.J. Moore is Worth the Big Contract the Panthers Gave Him

The Carolina Panthers and D.J. Moore agreed to a contract extension this offseason that will make the Panthers star one of the highest paid wide receivers in football. At the time of the signing, Moore’s new deal ranked behind only Tyreek Hill, Davante Adams, and DeAndre Hopkins in average annual value. It’s a huge investment for Carolina, but Moore has proven he’s worthy of such a commitment.

Moore may not have the Pro Bowl or All-Pro appearances that would be typical for a player of his caliber, but his statistics tell the story of his worth. The Panthers’ star has accomplished something in his first four NFL seasons that few receivers in the history of the game have done. In total, he’s racked up 4,313 receiving yards so far in his career. That’s the 3rd most before turning 25 of any player all-time. The only two receivers ahead of Moore are Mike Evans and Randy Moss. Despite his lack of size compared to the towering statures of Evans and Moss, Moore stacks up alongside the two in terms of consistent production.

As much as the feat is a testament to Moore’s talent, it’s just as much a reflection of his durability. He’s missed just two games in his entire career, one with a concussion in 2019 for the season finale against the Saints and one due to COVID-19 protocols in 2020 against the Broncos. Despite suffering ankle and hamstring injuries over the last two seasons, Moore hasn’t let physical ailments keep him off the football field. Availability is one of the most underappreciated qualities in football, especially during contract negotiations.

With the Panthers still evaluating options at quarterback following a season in which Sam Darnold and Cam Newton both spent time as the starter, having a presence like Moore on the receiving core is immensely valuable. Knowing that the starting quarterback in 2022 will have a bona fide #1 receiver to throw to will be ideal for anyone assuming that role. Knowing that Moore is comfortable no matter what the situation at quarterback makes him all the more valuable.

“I still look at it the same. Whoever’s out there, you gotta make plays for that quarterback.” Moore said last season on the idea of playing with multiple quarterbacks. “Whether it’s one of the quarterbacks I had starting my freshman year of college to now, I still look at it the same.

“You’re doing this as your job. Whether or not it’s the starting quarterback or the backup or you bring somebody in, you just gotta know the game plan and just go with what you got. At the end of the day, you still got a job to do with our position and the quarterback is just a plus.”

Moore exemplifies stability, reliability, and dependability. Each of those qualities along with his elite receiver skills make the Panthers an appealing situation to step into for any signal-caller, whether that be a veteran or a player coming out of college.

With another strong season under his belt, Moore continues to make his case to be considered amongst the top players at his position. That first Pro Bowl appearance is likely in the near future. His three consecutive 1,000-yard seasons have come with six different starting quarterbacks in Carolina. No matter who is under center for the Panthers, the team’s star wideout will be ready. The more things change, the Moore things stay the same.

Photo: (Jacob Kupferman – AP Photo)

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