Carolina Panthers head coach Matt Rhule made the big jump from the college ranks to the NFL, and he’s brought in several familiar faces to help him over the past two seasons. Quarterback P.J. Walker, wide receiver Robbie Anderson and pass-rusher Haason Reddick are a few players Rhule coached in college who have played for the Panthers, and another one could be on the way.
The Panthers have called about New York Jets wide receiver Denzel Mims, according to The Athletic. Rhule has had his eye on his former college wideout for about a year now, per ESPN. Mims caught 182 passes for 2,901 yards and 28 touchdowns in three seasons at Baylor with Rhule as his head coach, which led to him being a second-round pick of the Jets in 2020. However, Mims’ success in college hasn’t translated to the next level.
Mims has caught just 31 passes for 490 yards and zero touchdowns in 20 games played for the Jets. On Thursday, his agent publicly requested a trade or for his release.
“It’s just time,” Ron Slavin said of his client in a statement. “Denzel tried in good faith, but it’s clear he does not have a future with the Jets. Denzel vowed to come back better than ever this season and worked extremely hard in the offseason to make that happen. Still, he has been given no opportunities with the starting offense to get in a groove with them.
“We feel at this point a trade is our only option, since the Jets have told us repeatedly they will not release him.”
Jets head coach Robert Saleh said Friday he had a good conversation with Mims, and made it clear he’s not giving up on him just yet.
“I’m not going to say it is over, but you go into this and fight for all of your guys and you try to get them where there want to be,” Saleh said, via the New York Daily News. “All the individual players, you want them to have success and careers and achieve all of their personal goals.
“I do think Denzel has had a good OTAs and has done a good job in training camp. It is just about finding his niche and finding his role. He’s frustrated with his role and he’s not where he wants to be, but that doesn’t mean that he can’t get there. He just has to continue to grind.”
Despite Saleh’s comments, the New York Daily News reports the Jets are expected to grant Mims his request for a change of scenery, although they do not plan to part ways with him before Tuesday’s roster deadline.
While Mims hasn’t found success in the NFL up to this point, he’s just 24 years old and is a big target at 6-foot-3, 207 pounds. The Panthers’ wide receiver depth chart includes D.J. Moore, Anderson, Rashard Higgins, Terrace Marshall Jr. and Shi Smith, but given Rhule’s familiarity with Mims, Carolina could be the most likely landing spot for the young wideout. For other potential trade partners, check out Tyler Sullivan’s piece, here.