On Wednesday, Carolina Panthers wide receiver Kelvin Benjamin suffered a torn ACL in practice that will sideline him for the entirety of the 2015 season - leaving the Panthers with no good receiving threats.
In his rookie season last year, Benjamin played in every game and caught 73 passes for 1,008 yards and nine touchdowns, averaging 13.8 yards per reception. That leaves the Panthers with players like Corey Brown, Devin Funchess, Jerricho Cotchery, and Ted Ginn at the wide receiver position - in other words, it's not good. Tight end Greg Olsen will be counted on to be a huge part of the receiving game.
What this means for the Indianapolis Colts is that they will miss Cam Newton's top receiving target when they travel to Carolina to take on the Panthers in week eight on Monday Night Football. But perhaps even more interesting will be who is on the team during that week eight game to face the Colts.
Of course, this is all purely speculation right now, but former Colts receiver Reggie Wayne makes a ton of sense for the Panthers right now. He's a veteran wideout who could help bring some stability to the position while still providing solid play as a wideout - he's not going to be the Reggie Wayne of a few years ago but would still be the best receiver on the team. Furthermore, he could help teach and mentor a group full of young receivers, like he did with many receivers in Indianapolis (such as T.Y. Hilton). Could it be that when the Colts travel to take on the Panthers in week eight they'll be facing one of Indy's all-time greats? Nothing has been reported yet, but it makes a lot of sense for both sides. The Panthers need a player to step in right now in the short-term, and Wayne wants to play one more year. According to the Charlotte Observer's Joe Person, the Panthers have not yet reached out to Wayne - but despite that, it does seem like a fit.
Many Colts fans will now ask whether a trade could be worked out between Indy and Carolina, as the Colts have a ton of depth at the wide receiver position and the Panthers, well, don't. We can just go ahead and rule out T.Y. Hilton and Andre Johnson as trade targets, as I think we all know that they are not going to be traded. Some have wondered whether Donte Moncrief would be a good option for the Panthers, and the answer is yes. But I'd be pretty surprised if the Colts traded Moncrief, and the same goes for first round pick Phillip Dorsett. So that leaves Duron Carter, the talented receiver who is the Colts' number five. He really impressed in training camp, and his talent is something the Panthers could work with. The thing is I'm not sure whether Carter is really ready to step up and take such a big role right now, and that's what the Panthers need. Carter is a player you'd acquire with the future in mind as much as the present (which is what the Colts did), and the Panthers need help right now. Carter would certainly help, but he might not be the best option for them - I think getting Reggie Wayne as a free agent would be a better move for Carolina's situation right now than getting Duron Carter in a trade. So could we see a trade between the Colts and the Panthers? Sure, with Ryan Grigson we've learned to never rule out training camp and preseason trades. But at this point, I don't think it's something too likely.
What we do know, however, is that Kelvin Benjamin will miss the 2015 season, which includes a week eight matchup against the Colts. It adds to an already large list of notable players the Colts will miss in 2015, whether due to suspension or injury, including Marcell Dareus, Sheldon Richardson, Geno Smith. Now we can add Benjamin to that list, and we'll be monitoring the status of Bills running back LeSean McCoy as well (who was injured recently but who is expected to be back for week one).