CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) — The Carolina Panthers drafted Matt Corral in the third round of the 2022 NFL draft with an eye toward developing him to potentially be their starting quarterback.
One year later, Corral is buried on the depth chart and appears to be the odd man out in Carolina’s QB room.
The Panthers used the No. 1 overall pick this year on Alabama’s Bryce Young and signed veteran Andy Dalton in free agency to be his backup. With most teams keeping two QBs on their roster, Corral’s future in Carolina is cloudy.
But Corral said he’d rather fight for a position than be traded.
“If it was up to me, I don’t want to get traded,” Corral said Monday after minicamp practice. “I love the people here, I love the people that I’m around. I wanna play for (head coach Frank) Reich. I really like the coaches that we have around us.”
Corral’s comments come less than a month after he posted a cryptic message on Instagram the night of the NFL draft, which read: “Then the father said: I wanted to let you know that you are not worth anything if you are not in the right place. If you are not appreciated, do not be angry. That means you are in the wrong place. Don’t stay in a place where no one sees your value.”
Corral said Monday the post was not about the Panthers drafting Young, which he views as a business decision.
“It was just personal stuff, just my social life and my relationships with people that care about me and I care about them,” Corral said. “Had nothing to do with football.”
Reich said he feels good about where Corral is at after sitting down and talking to him.
“Matt’s got a great attitude about it,” Reich said. “His perspective is what it needs to be. And you know, my only two cents that I would say would be, you’ve got to play the long game; it’s a long season, it’s a long career. Just do the next right thing, get better every day, work hard out of practice, learn this offense, execute, and be a good teammate; you can play in this league a long time. … Be ready when your opportunity comes and make the most of it.”
It’s unlikely Corral would command much on the trade market after missing his rookie season following a Lisfranc foot injury in a preseason game.
Corral called it a long, rough year.
He watched Baker Mayfield, Sam Darnold and P.J. Walker all get time as the starting quarterback last season while he rehabbed. The Panthers finished the season 7-10 and cleaned house at quarterback, with none of the three still remaining in Carolina.
Dalton, a 12-year NFL veteran, is working with the first team in minicamp, essentially holding that role until Reich feels comfortable handing the reins of the offense over to Young.
That means Corral will likely get limited reps as the third-team quarterback when the Panthers get to training camp.
He appears ready to make the most of his chances, saying that last year gave him some perspective.
“It’s all about controlling what you can control,” Corral said. “And honestly, that’s what’s made me happy. Getting another opportunity to be here and play for the Carolina Panthers, I’m blessed. I’m in it for the long haul. When that opportunity comes, I’ll be ready.”