Panthers give way too much money to former Vikings offensive lineman

(Photo by Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports) Pat Elflein
(Photo by Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports) Pat Elflein /

Former Minnesota Vikings third-round pick Pat Elflein landed a surprising deal with the Carolina Panthers on Monday.

Following his rookie season with the Minnesota Vikings in 2017, some felt encouraged about the future of Pat Elflein. He started 14 games at center for the Vikings as a rookie and he held his own against some of the top defensive linemen in the NFL.

Then 2018 happened and even though he appeared in 14 matchups for Minnesota, he was dealing with nagging injuries all year, and these had a negative impact on his performance.

The Vikings responded by using their 2019 first-round draft pick to replace Elflein at center and they shifted him over to start at left guard instead. His position change didn’t go well and it ultimately led to him asking Minnesota for his release last season.

Former Minnesota Vikings blocker lands impressive contract with Carolina Panthers

After Elflein parted ways with the Vikings in 2020, he ended up signing with the New York Jets. He started six games for the Jets and he finished his season with a PFF grade of 48.0 (not good).

Despite his struggles throughout his career, the Carolina Panthers had no problem agreeing to a multi-year contract with Elflein on Monday. The former Minnesota offensive lineman will reportedly sign a three-year deal worth $13.5 million with $6 million of it being fully guaranteed according to ESPN’s Adam Schefter.

It’s quite the contract for someone in Elflein who has made less than $5 million during his entire career in the league. Apparently, it doesn’t take much to land a lucrative deal in the NFL these days.

Seriously though, what do the Panthers see if Elflein? And why did they feel like they needed to toss him a bunch of money to sign him? It’s not like he was going to be one of the most sought-after players in free agency this year.

Whatever the reason is, Carolina clearly wanted the former Vikings blocker to be a part of their offensive line for the 2021 season.

The Panthers have been one of the rumored teams to be in contention to land current Houston Texans quarterback Deshaun Watson this offseason. If Carolina is trying to impress Watson with new additions to their offensive line, spending their money on someone like Elflein doesn’t seem like it’s going to be the thing that entices the talented quarterback.